Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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HomeWorldThe False Diversity Of Identity, Part Two

The False Diversity Of Identity, Part Two


With respect to dialogue and cooperation between people
of dissimilar or similar histories and ethnicities in a
fractured world, perhaps it boils down to serious people
resolving the following questions within.

Can two or
more people discover the fluid truth of things by thinking
together? Can just and effective actions flow from an
inclusive approach that isn’t based on “perspectives?”
Or is there no alternative but “diversity and inclusion of
different perspectives, philosophies and
backgrounds?”

Though the “both/and” reaction may
be valid in this case, one of these approaches urgently
needs to take precedence in the global society.

A
common example of the idea of combining different
perspectives is the metaphor of a ship at
sea.

“Imagine two ships. On one ship, the crew lacks
diversity, with all the sailors sharing a similar background
and philosophy of the sea. On the other ship, there is true
diversity, with a crew composed of sailors from different
backgrounds and with different perspectives.”

“On
the first ship, there is unanimity about the choice to move
in the direction in which they are headed, with the whole
crew agreeing it is the right course. Unfortunately, the
whole crew is wrong. They sail into a storm and
sink.”

“The other ship was also briefly headed
towards the storm, but because of its diversity, there were
a number of sailors onboard who questioned their initial
course. After a brief debate, in which everyone was
included, the crew decided to change course, avoiding the
storm and eventually arriving safely at their destination.
Diversity saved their voyage.”

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Apart from the
laughable notion of a captain surrendering his authority to
democratic debate in a moment of crisis, the underlying
premise is false. The ideal of merging “different
backgrounds with different perspectives” does not result
in clarity of collective action, but the fragmentation of
“my truth” vs. “your truth.”

That’s the
fetid soil that’s grown right-wing extremists, who as yet
have found no bottom in America. They are working hard to
turn DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) into a
four-letter word.

Wingnuts such as Phil Lyman, a Utah
Republican gubernatorial candidate, take thinly veiled
racist potshots from landlocked states at the Maryland
governor, Wes Moore, who is black, for the Baltimore bridge
collapse: “This is what happens when you have Governors
who prioritize diversity over the wellbeing and security of
citizens,” the lying man wrote.

Asked how he felt
about being referred to as Maryland’s DEI governor, Moore
curtly told CNN: “I have no time for foolishness.”
Later, after admirably dealing with the immediate crisis of
the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, Moore
addressed the question: “We all know very well that Black
men, and Black young men in particular, have been the
boogeyman for those who are racist and think that only
straight, wealthy white men should have a say in
anything,”

The attack on DEI is an attack on
affirmative action, the decades-long successful program in
the United States to level an economic and political playing
field historically tilted steeply in favor of white
elites.

For affirmative action’s progress not to
become a Pyrrhic victory, the ideal of combining
perspectives needs to be superseded by an approach that
builds on the successes of affirmative action, while letting
go of its limitations.

DEI’s limitations derive from
the assumed separateness of identities and the spreading
confusions of relativism. The hard truth is that insisting
on a “diversity of personal perspectives” does not
produce dynamism but decay, and does not yield greater
clarity but increasing disintegration.

There is a
different approach to dialogue and decision-making that
isn’t based on personal perspectives and identities, but
rather on shared questioning and the insights that flow from
it.

Making space for marginalized groups to enter
economic and political life is essential; the fragmentation
and disintegration produced by upholding personal
perspectives is harmful. The sum of the parts does not make
a whole. There is no remedy in the vicious circle of more
“diversity” based on distinct perspectives and
backgrounds.

Holding beliefs and opinions in abeyance,
while holding a space for questioning together irrespective
of prior perceptions and backgrounds, allows people to think
together. That turns on self-knowing, not
self-identifying.

People drawn from different
backgrounds enrich the process of thinking together of
course, but personal perceptions have nothing to do with
generating shared insights that flow from truly thinking
together.

It should go without saying that “for
generations, paths to success were closed to people from
certain groups.” But “diversity of thought” is no
remedy to injustice. And it certainly does not “allow
groups to recognize when the group is in danger of making an
error and change course.”

Therefore it’s deeply
mistaken to insist that the methodology of “diversity of
thought is central to creating a healthier
world.”

There is no such thing as “diversity of
thought.” Thought is inherently conditioned and limited in
an increasingly personal, homogenous and competitive world.
The fiction of the diversity of thought is a philosophical
inanity that’s contributing to mass
insanity.

Disingenuously, false diversity ideologues
ask, “Can we fully support populations if our imaginations
are constrained by the limits of a single perspective,
without diversity to open our mental windows and let in the
light that illuminates new ideas and
approaches?”

That’s a false choice and classic
straw man argument. True dialogue isn’t a matter of
“perspectives,” “perceptions,” “viewpoint
diversity” and “narratives.” Such an approach is
personal, shallow and inherently fragmentary, and
accelerates the very social and psychological ills it
purports to remedy.

The choice isn’t between a
single perspective and many perspectives. It is between
continuing to live in the Tower of Babel that false
diversity of personal perspectives has built, or holding our
personal perspectives in abeyance, and holding a space to
question together.

Martin
LeFevre

Lefevremartin77 at
gmail

© Scoop Media

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