The myth of designing diversity, inclusion

[Opinion Piece] The myth of designing diversity, inclusion

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COURTESY OF www.philosophy.rutgers.edu
COURTESY OF www.philosophy.rutgers.edu

By Matthew C. Stelly
CONTRIBUTOR

I originally wrote the guts of this article and made the presentation in October of 2000, and presented it at the “People of Color in Predominantly White Institutions Conference” that was sponsored by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

That fact in itself – that UNL would sponsors such a conference despite its negligible numbers of black students on campus — is akin to having the local White Citizens’ Council sponsor a workshop on the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

It is the height of hypocrisy for this country’s institutions of higher education to pay lip service to “diversity” and more recently, “inclusion,” when its history, political intentions, strategies and tactics are all aimed at dictatorially and unilaterally keeping Blacks at the bottom of the system. What I postulated and proposed 15 years ago remains accurate this very day.

The logical question to ask is: can a system that has made tens of octillions of dollars discriminating, excluding and legally segregating a people overturn itself in the name of becoming more “diverse”? Or is it more likely that the gradual “browning” of the country – demographic transition – is going to cause a new program, plot or tactic to be implemented, where there is the appearance of diversity when, in reality, campuses and other societal institutions remain as white-dominated and discriminatory as ever.

For every program that talks about engagement, inclusion or diversity there is a grant program somewhere. And as has been said, federal grants are the majority population’s government cheese.

To begin with, majority group members cannot and should not lead or run programs that are truly committed to “diversity.” How could they? Their version of diver-sity is akin to their commitment to being “color blind,” and we know that such a term is an insult to peo-ple of color. If you’re “blind” to a person’s color, then the only way you can treat that person is as if he or she is another white person – tanned and ethnically different perhaps, but another white person nonetheless.

The white version of “diversity” is what they call inclusion. What arrogance! Who is going to de-termine who is “included”? Furthermore, “included to be among whom”? Included to do what?

Their version of inclusion is akin to the military’s version of it: include people of color to fight in the war and once they’re in, send them to take the point or bring up the rear. Control them through the use of“total institutions where their clothes, the time they go to bed or take a piss, and eat are all controlled by the people doing the “including.”

In other words what I call forced one-way integration. To be “included” is viewed as an honor while those who are not included are deemed somehow unfit.

It is for these reasons that I call this particular mind set and strategy the “qualified intentions” approach. The intentions are not sincere or bereft of considerations for quotas, control systems and monitoring. Were it not for the Federal govern-ment’s fear of black reprisals, few of these campuses would have any black students on them at all. The intentions are “qualified” because they have pre-determined parameters and boundaries.

There were no boundaries on the slave system that got our ancestors over here. There are no parameters on the percent-ages of Blacks and Latinos locked up in penitentiaries around the country. And there sure aren’t any boundaries on who gets shot in the back, killed while handcuffed or pulled over because they “looked suspicious.”

True diversity cannot be designed or formulated as these major colleges boast about and claim to be doing. Selective admissions, ma-triculation agreements and for-mulas are the new order of the day. True diversity cannot be implemented by those who do not understand diversity or those who have never seen it in operation, or think diversity is a matter of the tanned versus the untanned.

True diversity is not just a matter of numbers, but a matter of quality. As the late, great Albert Camus once wrote, “The evil that is in the world always consists of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.”

COURTESY  OF theleadershipsource.com
COURTESY OF theleadershipsource.com

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