A good friend of mine posted an article to LinkedIn about Twitter hiring a new VP of diversity and inclusion. In her comments she stated, “Diversity & Inclusion is necessary for long term success.”
I do in fact believe in inclusion, though my definition may not be up to snuff with whatever the social justice code word of the month is. But in the classic sense, I believe that people with relevant experience and opinions should be included in conversations. I believe that people with skills and expertise should have access to compete for open positions. I believe that access to things which are generally accessible, should include all the people who are interested in accessing them.
But I struggle with the notion that diversity is necessary for long term success.
The very history of this nation, and the fact that we are the most “successful” nation on this planet, kind of defeats that argument. We grew, and prospered, and defeated our enemies, and saved the world, and invented the most important stuff ever invented…all while being a nation primarily run by old, white, men. Which is not to say that we should be a nation run by old, white, men… but simply that it is entirely possible to have success without diversity. In fact, there are a number of fairly successful nations on this planet where diversity is pretty much against the law… Saudi Arabia for example.
If I run an accounting firm, and my employees spend all day adding and subtracting numbers…does the color of their skin matter? Is 2+2 more emphatically 4 if a black person says it? Is the math going to change because a Muslim quotes it? Are you going to pay less in taxes if your returns are prepared by a woman?
Diversity makes us feel good. It may even make us look good. It adds to our personal lives when we are able to discuss different cultures, beliefs, customs, etc. But it is, imho, wholly unnecessary for “success”.
My daughter is getting a college degree right now. She is doing the entirety of her program on-line. Thus her diversity is as low as it can possibly be, as she takes all of her classes alone. And yet, she is successfully completing her degree. She will also successfully obtain employment and begin a career. She will do this in the absence of diversity, and I don’t think it makes a bit of difference.
At the end of the day, it will be non-white, non-male, people who will disagree with me on this topic. I get that. But let me ask the next logical question…
Would the NAACP be more successful if they included white people in the interests of diversity?
Would NOW be more successful if they included men in the interests of diversity and inclusion?
Would whatever organization you support that discriminates against white, straight, male, Christian, Republicans be more successful if they included white, straight, male, Christian, Republicans in the interests of diversity?? Yeah…I didn’t think so.
In my personal experience when people say “diversity”, they mean that *I* should let *them* in. They NEVER mean that *they* should let *me* in.