Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Diversity, Part 5. The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How

Part 2 set forth the racial/ethnic categories used by the Census Bureau and universities in the Common Data Set.  These categories are the basis for quantifying the degree of Diversity in universities, and every other social, economic, and political organization.  Including non-Whites, or People of Color, in White groups and women in male groups becomes the measure for quantifying Inclusion.  The pure standard is proportional representation, with some acceptable level of deviation in special circumstances or in cases of common sense.

Let’s begin with Blacks or African-Americans (hereafter Blacks).  A purpose of Diversity and Inclusion is to advance Blacks in all walks of life where they may have been denied opportunity due to past and current discrimination, explicit and implicit racism, and other related factors.  Simply removing obstacles is not sufficient to remedy past wrongdoing.  Equal opportunity requires additional measures to compensate for the less satisfactory (less well-prepared) circumstances in which many Blacks live today.

Are some Blacks more deserving than others?  Perhaps we should distinguish between descendants of slaves brought to the United States against their will and Blacks who voluntarily immigrated from independent African countries or from former or current British colonies and territories in the Caribbean in search of education and economic opportunity in the United States.  Should descendants of American slaves have priority in receiving the benefits of Diversity and Inclusion over recent voluntary immigrants and their children?

If Diversity and Inclusion is intended to level the playing field to compensate for past discrimination, then does giving equal standing to children of voluntary African and British Caribbean Black immigrants dilute its purpose and benefits?

Turning to Hispanics/Latinos, deciding who should be first in line to get slots allocated to increase Diversity and Inclusion is also problematic.  As recently as 1940, only 1.5% of the U.S. population was of Hispanic/Latino origin.  It rose to 19% in 2019 and is projected to rise to 25% in 2040, a seventeen-fold increase in a century.

Should the children of early Hispanic/Latino arrivals receive preference for Diversity and Inclusion over more recent arrivals, especially those of illegal migrants?

Nor have we mentioned arrivals from East and South Asia that make up 5.6% of the population in 2019, a twenty-eight fold increase from 0.2% in 1950.  Asians are voluntary immigrants, save for perhaps those few who were deceptively recruited to work on the railways or brought here with false promises of opportunity.

There are no simple criteria for deciding who among and within the People of Color categories should be at the front of the Diversity and Inclusion line.  But the matter deserves more consideration than it has received to date.  No wonder the fallback position has been to use the broad Census and CDS racial/ethnic categories.

1 comment :

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