Editor's Note: This article was originally published by American Greatness on October 26, 2023.
Though “diversity” sounds benign and technically only means varied, different or differentiated, its modern usage appears to mean more. How much more may be the difference between something benign and something malignant.
Given these polar opposites, scrutiny of the term is in order.
The ubiquity of the word is itself suspicious. Upon reflection, incessant talk and advocacy of diversity is odd, since real diversity exists without any of that. Novice gardeners, for example, can barely count the varieties of tomatoes or the different kinds of trees. Humankind itself consists of billions of individuals, no one of whom is like the other.
So the world has diversity without anyone even trying. Advocating diversity, or hiring diversity officials, therefore, is a little like lobbying for gravity. Huh? Gravity pulls everything to the ground on its own. No lobby required.
Worse, if diversity already exists but officials are hired to promote it, they will of course begin promoting something else just to have something to do.
Add to this that a lot of diversity talk is dishonest. America has heard for years that “diversity is our strength” and in 1978 the United States Supreme Court began suggesting that “diversity” was a constitutional value on par with the presumption of innocence, due process or free expression.
But the word “diversity” appears neither in the United States Constitution nor in the Declaration of Independence, America’s foundational documents.
In fact, the word was rarely uttered until about the 1980s. That means that the country not only existed for most of its history without hearing about diversity, it also flourished—growing from a fledgling group of states in 1776 to a superpower 200 years later. Yet now America is supposed to believe that diversity explains its rise?
So the diversity movement doesn’t make much sense, suggesting something else is going on. Could diversity be a euphemism for something bad?
Of course it could. For those willing to see, diversity malignancy is obvious. Today the word is used to divide and conquer the American people by placing individuals into fake, warring tribes based on race and sex. As “diversity” talk has advanced, so has talk of “whites,” “gender” and “people of color” (and now proxy terms for race such as “underrepresented” or “marginalized’) while talk of mothers, farmers or small-business owners has receded. The former categories are not just novel but top-down, contrived and imposed, while the latter are natural, organic and real.
We’re told, for example, that women earning less than men is an injustice. But who chose the category of women and men, pitting them against each other? Isn’t family status—or provider status—a better category and measure of one’s interests? Married women with children often want their husbands to earn more when the husband supports the household. Similarly, diversity promoters point to race to explain income and education disparities. But one’s home life is the best predictor of financial stability and success, not race. Broken homes produce chaos and dependency on welfare. So why discuss race when the better focus is family formation and preservation?
At the same time, diversity shifts the nation’s focus from the pursuit of excellence—in character, business, education and the arts—to race and sex to fuel an identity politics that pits Americans against each other. In this way, achievement and excellence go out the window; mediocrity and ruin take their place.
Examples of diversity-driven tribal discord abound—in elementary schools, where teachers sort students by race; in corporate America, where new employees hear that sexual confusion such as transvestitism is good and healthy contrary to longstanding morals; and in government, which gets more and more coercive as bakers and website designers don’t go along with diversity claptrap.
But the diversity bug is most virulent on the American college campus. At Virginia’s James Madison University (“JMU”), for example, diversity staff in charge of 2020 orientation showed students a video telling freshmen that America consists of two groups—the “oppressed” and the “oppressors.” The oppressed included homosexuals, blacks and non-Western Europeans while oppressors included Christians, whites and Americans! When this content made news, the video disappeared.
That this is poison should be obvious. Not only is this explicitly and invidiously anti-Christian and anti-American, the premise of diversity advocates is that one’s race or sex all but determines one’s views, an ignorant and reductionist proposition. Women, for example, disagree plenty among themselves, as do those in various ethnic groups.
Notably, America has always been about the individual, not the tribe. The U.S. has no royalty and remains the land of opportunity for individual citizens—not dynasties—who will work hard and cultivate their talents. Of importance is individual character and individual contributions as in “put your name on it” or President Kennedy’s exhortation, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
This focus matters. Individuals can’t control all their circumstances; but they can control what they make of those circumstances—that is, they control their character. And a society’s focus on character encourages individuals to be good which, in turn, makes society good.
Diversity ideology does the opposite. It keeps the focus on what can’t be controlled, such as skin color, fomenting discord on that basis with no end in sight. Talk of “oppressors” is obviously designed to encourage resentment, which is poison for the individual soul and for society at large.
Note that no one demands diversity of Japan, which would probably recognize it as warfare against national unity, something Americans can’t seem to fathom. Similarly, no one demands diversity of professional basketball teams—don’t they need more Asians? More Central Americans? No doubt the National Basketball Association also sees that diversity is a war on excellence that would ruin the game. But pointing this out for other spheres of life like business or education is verboten.
Those arriving in America once discarded their old-world languages and old-world identities to learn American English and assimilate. But now assimilation and unity have yielded to “diversity” whose proponents even denigrate assimilation and excellence as one tribe’s power play over others. This is going to kill America.
How to respond?
Obviously, America must dump divide-and-conquer diversity and return to the pursuit of excellence—especially of individual moral character—as well as to President Kennedy’s call to service. Those are truly benign anchors of a good and healthy country.
So down with diversity. And let the Restoration begin.
Teresa R. Manning is Policy Director at the National Association of Scholars, President of the Virginia Association of Scholars and a former law professor at Virginia’s Scalia Law School, George Mason University.