Diversity Is Not Always Desirable Part III

Diversity Is Not Always Desirable Parts I, II, III, IV

Race, whether or not it can be successfully defined biologically, is clearly important. People, even the non-sincere, at least act as if race exists. So in order to achieve our limited definition of maximal diversity—maximum representation of all races, or of the characteristics thought to define race—we need to explicitly quantify race such that it falls into a finite number of groups. This number must also be small, else in any scope (such as our university), groups will be left out. Of course, some scopes are limited by nature: diversity is impossible for any scope which has fewer slots than there are racial groupings.

In order to achieve our limited definition of diversity, we must, artificially or no, group races (or proxy characteristics) into a small number of discrete buckets. I cannot say whether this is possible; but it seems unlikely: all human history argues that sanity on this topic will not be reached. Are Jews a race, or is that affiliation merely a behavior? The way “whites” think of “blacks” is entirely different than the way that non-uniform group think of themselves, and how they think of “whites.” Typical thinking here is loose and based on gut feelings. People will say, “‘Everybody knows what the racial groups are. It’s obvious.” Everybody does not know. And it is not obvious. Groupings will be capricious and based on shifting politics.

It is well to tackle here the growing feeling of outrage (nowadays the only available emotion for considering divergent opinions) some readers will feel. Any question of “historical injustices”, “counter-balancing”, etc., are utterly irrelevant to questions of whether maximal diversity is possible, which is the only question I intend on answering. I say nothing now about its desirability; however, I will do so when I discuss diversity of behavior.

Suppose a miracle occurs and all wake one morning to find a common acceptable definition of race. Is diversity—strictly of race, ignoring all other characteristics—possible? Yes. But only if the staffing operation of every (sizable) scope is overseen by quota masters. I have already shown that maximal diversity is impossible in scopes which have fewer slots than racial groups. But racial-diversity is possible in large scopes. However, suppose that staffing occurs on the first come, first served basis. Then, just by chance alone, some scopes will become non-diverse, i.e. stocked with too many of this group and not enough of that one. And when we consider we have a vast multitude of scopes all variously sized, the chance of finding non-diverse scopes becomes nearly certain. (Make sure you understand this statistical argument.) Thus, the only way to maintain diversity is by force and planning. How this is accomplished is irrelevant. As are “the best” or the “is qualified” premises, which can be present or absent. Racial-diversity is a logical possibility, but only by enforced quota, and only by arbitrary definitions of race.

Now consider sex, or “gender” as the sincere usually call it. This category is problematic, because it is more than just tallying up the number of Y chromosomes an individual has. Technical agreement is, however, easier to reach here than it is with race. That is, we might more easily agree to define sex into a small number of groups, smaller or larger depending whether we’re willing to consider homosexuality a genetic fixture or define it as a behavior, whether those with two X chromosomes but with typical male features are their own group or are considered male, and so forth.

Is sex-diversity possible? Clearly yes. But again only by enforced quota and agreement to groupings. The same statistical argument of imbalance works here. The next step is to ask for race-sex-diversity. If, say, we had a dozen race buckets and four buckets for sex, then we would have forty-eight race-sex buckets (these numbers are for illustration, but they are in the ballpark). This large number makes diversity for scopes with fewer than forty-eight slots impossible—as in impossible. Unfortunately for diversity, many scopes are small, so widespread non-diversity must be tolerated. The larger number of buckets also dramatically increases the probability that, just by chance, non-diversity scopes are found (I do not give these probability arguments; they are obvious to the adept). Thus, the more buckets we have, the more we need to have quota masters to insure maximal diversity.

However, we have answered our question. As long as we preferentially choose a small number of traits to track (one or two), and as long as we are able to collect these traits into non-disputable groupings, limited diversity is logically possible for a limited number of (but not all) scopes, but only if overseen by quota masters. With any other definition, maximal diversity of physical characteristic is not possible.

Very well. So much for physical characteristics. We now must enter the realm of multiculturalism and ask if diversity of behavior is possible and desirable.

Part IV: Behavior, the destroyer of all hope. Parts I, II, III, IV

Diversity Is Not Always Desirable Part I
Part II, Part III

19 Comments

  1. The original intent of affirmative action and the many variations of it was to help a specific group, African Americans, where the perception was that because of past discrimination they needed a hand up to equality. Some thought it would be temporary and once African Americans had an equal share of jobs and wealth we could eliminate it. Probably well intended but never constitutional. But it got far worse. Every and any “minority” jumped on the bandwagon and received a hand out/up. Someone paid for this. We destroyed many small efficient and effective companies simply because the owners were not black/female/hispanic/etc. We replaced them with companies which may or may not have been efficient or effective but they were headed (at least on the books) by a minority so therefore they would be hired. This monster continues to grow and now the ONLY group which can be legally discriminated against are white males. In most venues when this fact is brought up you would drowned out by cheers in favor of discriminating against white males. Youtube is full of videos where our elected and appointed leaders in fact have enthusiastically said the intent was to disenfranchise white men. Whatever the original intent of this movement was it has long since changed to open discrimination and racism approved and officially stamped by government and our courts. In fact you can get yourself into legal trouble by simply objecting to our present state of state sponsored racial discrimination. Those in power who have based their power on this neo-racism will not give up that power and their constituency of “minorities” will never willingly embrace equal treatment under law. But I do not see this house of cards continuing endlessly. What I do not see is the “how” of the change. Will it take violence? Will the tea party give way to something stronger (much like the original tea party did)? Or will democracy work and we elect honest politicians (yeah I know. I laughed too when I wrote it) who will restore our constitution? I find it difficult to be positive about this. I am concerned. The robbers on the left show no signs of willingness to change and stop looting our federal coffers and handing out favors for bribes. I do expect there to be violence…

  2. The idea of diversity was borrowed by social scientists, and cultural critics, from biology. But where diversity presents real advantages for the recycling of resources, there is often little advantage in social settings. Here the point of diversity is “social justice”–another vague and malleable idea. Borrowing concepts and dropping them into alien terrain often leads to stifling or misdirected thinking if not downright stupidity. An example: Mortgaged Backed Securities, where diversity of property locations was thought to automatically make up for lack of risk analysis.

  3. @GoneWithTheWind

    While the facts as you state them are true (I can so testify being a white male business owner in California who deals with contracts with local, state, and federal agencies) nevertheless if you are born a white male in the United States you’ve won the birth lottery. When I’m at conferences, negotiations, etc. the power players are more than 90% (Beuller? …. Beuller?) … white males. Regardless of the considerations Dr. Briggs points out above, looking around the tables I know that this is true.

    This is not to justify the silly rules for winning of government contracts. As an example, you win points to make a proposal a “qualifying” one by taking a variety of actions to meet “goals” or “requirements” for various types of diversity. One of these is to advertise in a variety of so-called “newspapers” representing Asian, African American, Latino, etc. business owners. Let’s say the requirement is that 25% of a contract be with Minority and Women owned business enterprises (MBE/WBEs, pronounced “meebie weebies”) and suppose I already have 30% of my contract committed to such firms. Does that waive the requirement to advertise in these newspapers whose only purpose is to collect fees from companies such as mine to advertise for government subcontractors? It (Bueller?… Bueller?) … does not.

    But – if my blastocyst were conscious and interviewed prior to birth and asked “what race, sex, and country of birth would you prefer?” my answer would have been (Bueller?… Bueller?)… white male in the United States. If you can’t make it with that starting point then the mirror is the only place to look for the problem. Does this justify the ridiculous system in place? It (Bueller?… Bueller?) … does not.

  4. How many races are there? Back in the ’50s when I was a lad, public schools taught that the 5 Races of Man could be color-coded; white, yellow, red, brown, and black, the latter being Australian Aborigine. Much later, when I was in college, I was cruising the library for co-eds and happened on the Social Demographics aisle. Authors enshelved there demarcate 15, 25, and even 131 races. The big numbers came from German scholars of the 1930s (hint, hint) who split humanity into Western Lapp, Eastern Lapp, Teuton (of course), French, and scads of other races you probably never heard of.

    In our post-Dark Age world, however, and even before, certain individuals of gender have been sneaking around and pollinating with the neighbors. That has led to factorial combinatorics of races, such as Mex-kimoes, that are now in the millions if not more numerous. So it’s hard to tell what “race” somebody is, even if they know their own grandparents.

    The old 5-color coding is outre. Indeed, your fully configured Crayola box is inadequate to the task. I suggest, nay demand, that the Gooberment use the standard Munsell Soil Color System (over 322 matte color chips) to code skin color for diversity indexing purposes, since soil hues and human skin hues have remarkably similar spectra.

  5. Is sex-diversity possible? Clearly yes.

    Not always. You may have noticed that in general men are larger than women and on the average weight about 20% more. That 20% is primarily muscle. There are a lot of things women can’t do because they don’t have the strength. I’ll give you an example. When I was in the Navy I was in the diving club. A single tank SCUBA rig weighted about 50 lbs with all your equipment. The women had difficulty carrying this much weight. A double tank rig weighed about 100 lbs. It was clumsy for me but I could handle it. The women could barely stand up wearing double tanks, much less walk. The women could use this rig once in the water, but they couldn’t get into or out of the water without help. Now aluminum air tanks are used and they much lighter than the old steel tanks.

  6. Ray,

    You have invoked “the best” premise, which politically is not always viable. That being so, I do not require it.

  7. Uncle Ron,

    Some more words from the Article linked by Katie:

    How the respondents reported characterizing themselves elsewhere depended on the context, however, with 29 reporting that they “strategically” identified themselves only as black when they thought they would benefit from doing so. One respondent, whose name is given only as Natasha, told the researchers, “I know that if I say I’m ‘biracial,’ I will get certain things, and if I say I’m ‘black,’ I will get certain things.” Another respondent, Julie, said, “If I’m trying to get more money from the government, I am ‘African American.’ There is no white aspect to me.”

  8. It seems that any way you approach diversity in our society, it becomes a quantitative issue, and therefore, a question of establishing quotas. Diversity as we know it has to start with definition, and when defining a group, I believe you will quantify that group in terms of size or proportion to some other population.

    I understand the reasons for diversity in security portfolios, and I believe I have an understanding of the desirability of diversity in a gene pool. These things make sense, and can be quantified to a great extent.

    What I logically don’t understand is racial and gender diversity, which I think is what we are talking about. Diversity in this sense is a forced inclusion of races/gender in groupings only because of a perceived historical harm.

    Jews are left out of this system of political favors, and so are racial minorities such as Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Gypsies, and even Irish Travelers .

    I don’t believe that there is any reason for racial/gender diversity programs other than we feel that those groups have been victimized. That is why I believe that victimhood is a prerequisite to being a diversity candidate.

    This social diversity stuff makes no sense to our economy, morals, or well being in any way. It only serves to promote someone’s sense of fairness, or assuage their guilt for something where they had no part or control.

  9. Uncle Matt,

    Roger on the quotes from Katie’s article. People are cheating on their race declarations. They are encouraged to cheat by the Folderol Government.

    How can we ever get a handle on the race issue if the system rewards mendacity and cupidity?

    That’s why my Munsell Soil Color method is so desperately needed and the only workable solution.

    All gummit handouts, job awards, etc. should be based on skin hue and chroma. The higher the numbers, the more ample the handouts. That way dark-skinned people will get the free lunch, and the light-skinned people will be kicked to the curb regardless of alleged heritage.

    Specially trained goober-agents (drawn from the same HR pool as the TSA goobers) will color-rate all citizens for receipt (or not) of welfare pork. Of course, we will have to outlaw spray-tan, leather dye, and the like, but that will be a tiny price to pay for the relief of social guilt that so burdens certain factions in our asylum.

  10. Race, whether or not it can be successfully defined biologically, is clearly important

    It cannot. Race, like species, is a definition that fails biologically.

    And in order to achieve our limited definition of diversity—maximum representation of all races, or of the characteristics thought to define race—we need to explicitly quantify race such that it falls into a finite number of groups.

    Whose limited definition of diversity? You’ve writted 4 parts to your inane ‘Diversity, Stupid eh?’ series, yet you have failed to quote a single source to represent what you define as diversity.

    Who wants “maximum representation of all races, or of the characteristics thought to define race? You don’t say, most probably because no-one wants that, and it would reveal your argument for the inane shallow attack on something that no one believes, that it is.

    “I repeat: in order to achieve our limited definition of diversity”

    And I repeat: whose limited definition of diversity? You are just making yourself look like a moron incapable of addressing the arguments of the people you believe you oppose.

    Quote someone, or admit you’re tilting at windmills that don’t actually exist.

    Racial-diversity is a logical possibility, but only by enforced quota, and only by arbitrary definitions of race.

    So say you, but you have shown yourself to be an intellectual lightweight in the vein of Richard Dawkins, able to produce ‘devastating’ arguments against stupid ideas that no-one or only morons would hold, but unable to even admit that people mean different things that the few that you’ve ‘disproved’.

    Basically you are trying far too hard to “prove” that ‘diversity’ as you believe people wish to enforce, is a stupid idea, and by your effort only revealing your limited understanding of what ‘diversity’ can mean, and how people want to achieve it.

  11. Ender,

    Tell you what, why don’t you define for us what diversity is. I notice that you never bothered, while I have. And also will. Pay particular attention to Part V.

    You must learn to make better criticisms. Each stab you make is no better than shaking your fist in the air impotently. A clue: criticism is not saying, “You’re wrong!” You must also say why.

    Incidentally, do I read you right? Do you claim that “species is a definition that fails biologically”? Interesting. Anyway, you also missed where I say that I do not claim race exists. Strange, then, isn’t it, that all diversity mavens act like it does?

  12. “why don’t you define for us what diversity is. I notice that you never bothered”

    That’s a problem with having this debate over several different threads, I did that back: in this comment, and before that a couple of times.

    “You must learn to make better criticisms. Each stab you make is no better than shaking your fist in the air impotently. A clue: criticism is not saying, “You’re wrong!” You must also say why”

    I have not said that you are wrong. I’ve said that you are right, maximal diversity is a self defeating notion, but what does that have to do with ‘diversity’ as people mean it?. You have made an argument against proportional diversity now, but I have not had a chance to read it.

    “Do you claim that “species is a definition that fails biologically”?”

    Yes, I did. It depends of course what you mean by ‘species’ and what you consider as ‘failed’, but ring species and geographically isolated species essentially leave the traditional definition in tatters.

    “Anyway, you also missed where I say that I do not claim race exists”

    I was agreeing with you, poor phrasing on my part, apologies.

    Strange, then, isn’t it, that all diversity mavens act like it does?

    Do they? I can’t say I’ve argued with that many of them, so maybe you’re right. I do however know a lot of them, even if they aren’t the ones you’ve encountered before, and lots of them are aware that it doesn’t.
    Some of them however, are aware that race doesn’t make sense as a biological category, but know that race as a social category does exist, and that that has an effect.

    Frankly, generalised statements like that are pretty much guaranteed to be wrong, because ‘all’ of ‘anyone’ probably don’t act the same.

  13. Rob Ryan: You are correct statistically. I have worked in very competitive fields and the white and asian males dominate in sheer numbers. However at the low end of the scale white males (and often asian males) are excluded or penalized. In effect the exact situation you point out works against most white males. That is because the top is dominated by white males everyone feels that ALL white males shoud be penalized to “level” the playing field. 95% of jobs and school admissions are weighted against wite males partly/mostly because the 5% of the really competitive jobs at the top are dominated by white males. If you want to go to a decent college a black of either gender will be “given” about 300 points on the SATs and a woman will be given about 200 points. This continues even in spite of court rulings mandating “equality” in admission procedures. This happens NOT because either of the two people competing (a white 18 year old and a black 18 year old) has actually ever been discriminated against or benefitted from discrimination. It happens mostly because we can all still point to the top tier jobs that are based on competion and skill and are dominated by white men (and increasingly Asians). You can see a much more obvious case of this kind of dominance in basketball. It even inspired a movie called “White Men Can’t Jump”. Where the selection is based entirely on skill the result is dramatically skewed in favor of one race. Another example is nursing (but for a different reason) where women dominate nursing. Should we give white men preference in the NBA and give all men preference in nursing schools?? Just because white men dominate the top highly competitive jobs in business does NOT mean all white men won the birth lottery. Most white men enter a job market that will never lead them in the direction of the movers and shakers in industry but they suffer real discrimination because of the successful 5%.

  14. Meanwhile, the crusade to ‘diversify’ continues apace,

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gTkHxVw8EQ0JG7UszJzudB8cwQRg?docId=52da9f2a3aae4ab497cdc474f81f794c

    with men who have been surgically de-enhanced now qualified to compete for ‘Miss’ Universe.

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”

    Through the Looking Glass.

    Just so, in Liberal Land. And liberals mean to be the masters.

    A casual glance at the headlines on a random day would lead one to believe that we have, collectively, been transported ‘through the looking glass’.

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