Thick Air
Friday Ephemera

The Diversity Paradox

Housing students by race seemed to me an odd approach to ending racial division.

Andrew Quinio, a UC Berkeley graduate, comments on the university’s absurd “diversity” programmes, and their fallout.

These resources and many others exist because UC Berkeley insists that it is simply tough to be a minority. According to the student resource website, “Many students feel isolated when they go to college and this experience can be intensified if you find yourself to be the only person of color in a classroom, department, or residential unit.” For the most part, however, the university’s exaggerated concern is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Minority students detect racial hostility where there is usually none after facing interminable insistence that such hostility is real.

Over the past few years By Any Means Necessary, a pro-Affirmative Action student group on campus, has organized several public hearings to expose racial hostility. Minority students testified about their experiences with prejudice and discrimination, but their testimonies hardly painted a picture of Jim Crow conditions. One student swore he was a victim of discrimination simply because his professor did not call on him when his hand was raised. Another cried “racism” after her student group was asked to move their event to a different part of campus due to scheduling conflict. The solutions to these problems, the students declared, were more special programs for minorities, greater funding for the Ethnic Studies department, and of course the resurrection of racial preferences in college admissions. Entitlement seemed to be the only way these minority students knew how to combat racism.

The abundance of resources aimed at dealing with the problem of race mistakenly provides confirmation that a problem exists to begin with. But maintaining the special perks for minority students may invite bigger problems than the ones the university currently perceives. Allocating resources based on race and ethnicity can create resentment toward minority beneficiaries, generating the very problem that the university believes exists. It also leads to the same negative perception inherent in affirmative action that minorities cannot succeed unless they are helped. In challenging these special benefits for minority students, one must be prepared to face a barrage of nonsensical pejoratives. Those who question these sacred programs are called racist, hateful, or in my case a “self-hating minority.” But nothing could be more self-hating than embracing perpetual victim status.

Given fallout of this kind, sceptics among us might wonder if the intended beneficiaries of “diversity” are not in fact the students but rather the proponents of “diversity” themselves.

The rest. Related: What to Think, Not How.


Brian H

It's not a paradox. It's a scam.

Horace Dunn

Any staff member at a university, wanting to appear "cool" and "progressive" needs to have his diversity and multi-culturalist credentials clearly on show. Unfortunately, if he simply adopts the attitude that he will not countenance any unfair discrimination on the grounds of race etc., then he may have to wait some time before getting the chance to demonstrate his moral probity. If no clear example of discrimination appears then he’ll have no opportunity to show how progressive he is.

Therefore it is necessary for him to be pro-active. He’ll need to develop schemes and approve schemes thought up by others. He’ll need to be seen to be using his budget creatively. He can’t just wait for some ghastly backward lecturer to make a questionable remark to a black student. No, he must expend public resources on a scheme designed to support that black student in the event that anyone might even think of being rude to him. So, even if the student goes through three years of university without anyone being beastly to him, at least no-one can be in any doubt of our staff member’s warmth and humanity. As so often, vanity...


I've wondered whether exaggerated efforts to assuage minority "feelings" results in minorities who simply can't handle the slightest obstacle, such that anything they don't like (since so much effort has been expended to prevent them from experiencing anything they might not like) is deemed "racist" by them. This would be not unlike what happens to students who have been subjected to today's "self esteem at any cost" education system.



“If no clear example of discrimination appears then he’ll have no opportunity to show how progressive he is.”

Yes, there does seem to be a predatory or parasitic aspect to the “diversity” phenomenon, and a whiff of narcissism. And it’s not particularly obvious how much of what’s being advanced can realistically serve the interests of those it purports to empower. But, as we’ve seen many times, realism isn’t a priority among many “diversity” devotees, and perhaps it’s *their* career interests, not those of students, we should be looking at.

Simen Thoresen

How is your scandinavian?;

Maciej Zaremba has written some interesting articles about this from schools in Stockholm, and has used therms like 'pink khmer' to describe the gay-rights people who jump on any perceived slight and shout 'homophobia'. The articles also cover other aspects of the insult- and oppression-mentalities.



Non-academic anecdote:

A few years back, I was driving my beat-up car near my workplace, in an iffy part of an Eastern Seaboard Rust Belt city. I rolled through a Stop sign, not noticing the police car behind me, or the brawny blond man with the badge and gun who was driving it. Pulled over, I watched in the rear-view mirror as he spoke on the radio, got out, and walked over to my door. I saw his hand drift to his waist, *unsnap his holster*, and rest on his Glock.

What followed was a very brittle and very tense exchange. "License and registration?" I asked if I might slowly reach into the glovebox for my registration. After seeing the cop's tense nod, I slowly and carefully did so. Likewise for wallet and license. Officer Blond radiated hostility as he watched my every move.

An unremarkable ending to this story--the ticket issued, I slowly drove off. What was it about me or my car that set off this cop? I've no idea. Except that, however sensible or idiotic, the motivating factor wasn't Racism. Whereas a different person in similar circumstances might be drawn to that as the most likely explanation, even the certain one.



Exactly. When self-appointed enablers of “diversity” and “inclusion” presume to dig around in such enormously subjective areas, phantom racism will be found. Indeed, as suggested above, such phantoms *must* be found, if only to flatter the people concerned and justify the exercise.


What strikes me is the childishness of this attitude, not to mention the paranoia. To view every slight against you as racist, homophobic etc suggests a monstrous ego which insists that you are the centre of the world. That man glanced in your direction because he is a racist!! (not at something behind you, or because he also glanced at twenty other people in those five seconds). Unfortunately, feeding this paranoia and ego with 'awareness programmes' is like pouring petrol onto a fire.

Has no-one ever told these people that sometimes, things just happen?


Munchausen-by-Proxy... of a type, perhaps?

The progressive diversity-monger creates & uses the *victim* to benefit their own attention-seeking cause.



“What strikes me is the childishness of this attitude, not to mention the paranoia.”

It does seem likely to result in whiny, paranoid narcissists who are both pampered and resentful. But proponents of enforced “diversity” don’t seem terribly concerned with the practical consequences for victims of their dogma, including those it claims to serve:

“It didn't seem to matter that… students admitted with lower academic credentials would end up incurring heavy debt but never graduate.”

“Yet for the [racial] preference lobby, a failing diversity student is better than no diversity student — because the game is not about the students but about the self-image of the institution that so beneficently extends its largesse to them.”

And as Quinio points out, raising objections regarding the practicalities or morality of what’s being done – say, for the reasons above - often invites accusations of racism and heinous intent. It’s almost a matter of blasphemy. One shouldn’t discount the thrill of coercive social engineering. For some, it’s quite intoxicating.


Here's the diversity industry's official line...

"I have a dream that my children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the content of their character but the color of their skin."

So now war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, and equality is segregation.

John V

This sort of behavior by minorities tells future employers that they will have problems if they hire these paranoid whiners.

They do themselves a disservice by showing up with their ultra thin skin ... whatever color it may be. I'll tell you what is even thinner than their skin ... their character.

Oh well, more jobs aavailable for the silent white majority I suppose.



No search for racism is required, given that racism is "invisible", a common theme in diversity writings these days.

This theme seems to have begun with the famous essay "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" by Peggy McIntosh in 1989. You might also read more the book "Invisible Privilege A Memoir About Race, Class, and Gender" by Paula Rothenberg (2004).

Racism, you see, is not always overt. It's built into the very fabric and infrastructure of our society - or so it is claimed.

The wonderful thing about this approach is that when someone challenges you to show them this racism you talk about, you need only ask them: How can one show something which is invisible?



“Racism, you see, is not always overt. It’s built into the very fabric and infrastructure of our society - or so it is claimed.”

Regarding claims of “invisible racism,” an example I’ve used before is Dr Caprice Hollins, a speaker on “multicultural issues” and currently the Director of Equity, Race and Learning for Seattle’s public schools. Hollins has famously criticised individualism, long-term planning (or “future time orientation”) and the speaking of grammatical English as “white values.” The expectation among teachers that all students should be responsible individuals and meet certain linguistic and organisational standards is, according to Hollins, a form of “cultural racism.” Speaking of her appointment in 2004, Hollins announced:

“Now I’ll be part of a system that some people see as an oppressive system. So it’s kind of this dual role - on one hand I’m part of the system and on the other, I have the role of dismantling that institutional racism… They wouldn't have hired me if there wasn't a need. I just need to find out what that need is.”

Some three years later, Hollins admitted to the Seattle Times that she had in fact managed to find no evidence of institutional racism in Seattle’s public schools. Dr Hollins is, of course, still employed and still claiming her $86,000 salary. Without a flicker of irony or concession, Hollins has subsequently extended her mission beyond the school gates. In order to find unspeakable wickedness “within the school system,” she’s now reduced to turning over stones in children’s summer holidays, which, she claims, constitute “an example of systemic problems.”



To prove your "...equality is segregation" line, you should know that in Toronto, the public school board is on its way to create a blacks-only school.

Only the addle-minded leftards at the municipal and provincial levels of government can rationalize this ridiculous turn of events.



Future-time orientation. That's a new one for me.

How perverse does a philosphy have to be to denigrate the use of intelligence and discipline to ensure that your family has food on the table and a roof over their heads over the coming years?

Caprice Hollins is like a ridiculously over-the-top character in an Ayn Rand novel.


She is, alas, quite real.


The only reason Hollins and her ilk (in Toronto and elsewhere) get away with what they do is because the liberal establishment couldn't care less about the disastrous effects their policies have on minority communities. They have about as much common ground with them as the bourgeois lawyers who created the French Revolution had with the peasants and working classes of Paris - none whatsoever. They are merely tools, and expendable ones at that.

WIll T. Power

Segregation now, segregation forever. The ghost of George Wallace must be having a good laugh over all this.


This concept of "invisible privilege" is just a repackaging of original sin. It is not falsifiable or even debatable, and is quite useful in inducing guilt. Since I don't worry about original sin, I don't worry about my invisible privilege either.

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