Diversity: Racism in disguise
Why are the most diverse people in this country accused of not practicing diversity? In order to sufficiently ponder the question, let’s define the terms. Diversity is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as the “inclusion of different types of people (race or culture) in a group or organization.” Diversity derives from a state of being diverse, which is to be “differing from one another or composed of distinct or unlike elements or qualities.”
Currently entwined with the concept of diversity is “person (or people) of color.” As background and leaving aside what are considered slurs, in the first half of the 20th century, the terms “negro” and “colored” and “colored people” were in common usage, though restricted to those of the Negroid race. Other non-Caucasians had different descriptors – for instance, most people of Asian stock were simply referred to as Chinese. Over time, those terms fell out of favor, and by the late 1960s, they were replaced by “Afro-American” and “black” until “African-American” became the favored designation toward the end of the 20th century.
Although “colored people” remains within the acronym for the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), the term standing alone is now considered degrading. Remarkably, gaining rapid acceptance within and beyond the “African-American” community is “people of color,” encompassing anyone who is not Caucasian. American society now seems to be dividing into two groups: people of color and Caucasians. With that, it is now time to address the question of who are the country’s most diverse people.
The short answer is Caucasians. Caucasians vary widely in their physical appearance, from superficial qualities such as the color of their complexion to the texture and color of their hair to their eye color. Furthermore, they vary in their ethnic groupings, linguistic backgrounds, religions, and cultural heritage. Their history, geographical dispersion, scientific and educational endeavors, and creation of various economic systems have also contributed to their diversity. The point is not to disparage any other race or its achievements, but to highlight what should be obvious from objective analysis: Caucasians represent the epitome of diversity.
So what is behind the accusation that Caucasians do not represent diversity? The answer is quite simple. What we have is a subtle form of racism, the belief that there are too many Caucasians, or rather not enough “people of color” represented in areas such as school enrollment, advanced degrees, housing, employment, and any situation where a correct type of diversity is sought.
Despite Caucasians being the most diverse of people, there are those who see all Caucasians as a monolithic group. Through that lens, same isn’t diverse, and those advocating for diversity are actually reviving the racism of old, where only superficial characteristics were of utmost importance.
The danger will be if mere categorization leads to an American version of apartheid. In the minds of the deranged, what is sought is a favored “people of color,” thereby disfavoring those of “non-color” or simply “colorless.” From there it doesn’t take much to be designated as “non-people,” and once you’re no longer considered human, humanity has never shown its better side. Perhaps we are already well down that road, with the call for diversity, racism in disguise, used against those who are actually the most diverse.