Sometime back when my childhood mind was all sunshine and flowers I used to perceive the world somewhat more beautifully. I did not see races, religion, colour or gender. I saw people. I didn’t see an african, or a Muslim, I saw just another kid, like me, like all of us. But today on seeing the same kid I begin to wonder, I hope I treated him well. He’s different so we must make the special effort to make him feel included.
Treating someone in a way that’s differs from the general lot generates within us the feeling the person is different than me. What we want for the society is to eliminate differences, for it to be able to see people just as they are, not where they’re from.
So what is killing diversity apart from sterotypes and discrimination? ‘The PUSH for Diversity’.
Yes—you read that correctly. Diversity for diversity’s sake (and public scorn for anything less) either shames a person into silence, begins to cause that person to see nothing BUT differences—or even both.
I never used to think twice about someone who is “different” than me, because I was never brought up to see the differences. I was brought up to see people. Today, this is changing. I’ll give you an example: Today, I instantly wonder whether or not an African American standing next to me in line is judging me based on what they’re told I think, or whether or not they think I’m judging them based on my supposed worldview.
In India, there is a certain percentage of reservation (quota) for people belonging to backward classes. They are guaranteed jobs at low cut offs. The focus is thus not on the individual’s talents and ability, but rather on their background, something no one has the right to choose for himself or herself. This provision came into the Indian constitution at the very time of its genesis, during the latter stages of the independence struggle. However, Mahatma Gandhi, one of the most eminent nationalists of the country strongly opposed the reservation policy as he felt that this would discourage and slow their integration into the society. And as a matter of fact, it has. If instead of making special provisions for their compulsory inclusion, we made efforts to bring them on the same plane as everyone else, things would work out much better. Why don’t we focus on ensuring equal level of education for them, so that they qualify on their ability rather than reservation, guranteeing opportunity for the job rather than the job itself? I wonder where would it lead the country to have doctors and engineers who became qualified professionals not upon their abilities but their background, as if the fact that they belong to a backward community compensates for a person’s lack of skill in the field.
Upliftment is indeed required in various parts around the world, and we need to assure everyone the same economic and social strata, however Today’s incessant focus on guaranteeing diversity versus focusing on character, talent and ability has the potential to turn the next generation into exactly one of two things: trembling cowards who live in fear of being accused of racism or bigotry; or, actual racists and bigots.
Our obsession with absolute equality of outcome is cheapening what it means to be a part of a diverse society. It’s working to convince some that they’re the bane of humanity, and still others that their background or gender or weight should play a primary role in whatever they want to achieve in life. It is undermining the individual’s perception about himself as an equal to everyone around him.