Friday, August 26, 2011

Unequal Diversity

SELECTED QUOTES FROM “College Becomes First to Ask Applicants’ Sexual Orientation” by Josh Voorhees on

“A private college outside of Chicago has begun asking potential students about their sexual orientation in a move the school says is aimed at increasing campus diversity.”

“those who answer ‘yes’ may be eligible for a scholarship worth up to one-third of the cost of tuition”

“‘Increasing diversity is part of our mission statement,’ said Gary Rold, the school's dean of admissions. ‘This is simply closing the loop, in many ways, of another group who has a very strong identity. It may not be race and religion but it’s an important part of who they are.’”

“...At Dartmouth College, for example, students can check boxes of activities that might interest them, including LGBT-centered activities. At the University of Pennsylvania, students who write in their application essay that they are gay can be paired with a mentor.”

FROM “College Becomes First to Ask Applicants’ Sexual Orientation” by Josh Voorhees on


Is this really what's meant by "increasing diversity"? Of course people should be exposed to a range of people, ideas, and beliefs that are different from what they might consider “normal”, but why is exposure to this sort of diversity particularly encouraged—with scholarships and other special treatment (mentors, etc.)!!!—and other sorts of diversity are actually DIScouraged, either directly or indirectly, in public institutions around the country. Myriad examples could be easily found of colleges actively discouraging politically conservative or traditional Christian points of view from being freely expressed. But whatever. My point is, homosexuality is a sexual preference. It isn’t a political or ideological belief, it isn’t an ethnicity, and it isn’t necessarily a culture. People with homosexual tendencies can be found in EVERY culture, class, ethnicity, and as adherents to every religion. How can the inclusion of a particular “group” be increasing diversity when that group is itself almost infinitely diverse. What are you really adding to the diversity equation when you add people whose only difference from other people is a slightly greater-than-average propensity to engage in a particular behavior that is by no means exclusive to that group? And isn’t the contrary point of view, that including homosexuals “as a group” increases legitimate diversity, a capitulation to unfair and inaccurate group stereotypes?

Granted that personal interaction with people who have homosexual tendencies increases acceptance of people with homosexual tendencies generally, can’t we also grant that personal interaction with people holding to beliefs and ideologies different from our own increases acceptance of those persons as well? And if we grant that, shouldn’t more of an effort be made by those in charge of our institutions of higher learning to diversify the points of view being expressed than the sorts of behaviors students engage in or the manner in which those students might self-identify? Let everyone self-identify as LGBT but let there be a diversity of views being freely expressed and openly entertained without prejudice or ridicule and you will have done much more to increase real diversity.

And despite more than a decade of pointing out the insular political and ideological nature of most US campuses and news rooms there has been no such comparable effort to increase diversity in categories of belief or political point of view. And isn’t it at least possible that the current sharp divisions in the US between right and left are due, at least in part, to the fact that people who hold different views aren’t as likely to come into direct personal contact with each other as they might have been at earlier times in our history?

Click on the below link to see an interesting take on Politicians: