Quick Thought on Diversity Discussions

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In all of my grad classes we take a couple of lectures in each course to address issues of diversity (race, gender, sexuality). Unfortunately, class is seldom considered. However, something that I’ve found increasingly frustrating about liberals is that they never say anything during these discussions. Instead, they spend the entire time discussing how great it is to have a safe space to meet and discuss these issues. The entire conversation ends up getting filled up with people discussing how grateful they are there can be a place where open-minded people can meet and think through these difficult issues. At the end, one should expect someone to make a comment that there should be more meetings to discuss such matters. Liberals seem to be crippled by this obsession with meta-discourse. Let’s dialogue about having dialogue, but God forbid we actually think and be honest. The entire structure of discourse is just screwed up. In these discussions everyone just congratulates themselves for being incredibly sensitive to these issues and nobody feels comfortable voicing real concerns about prejudice. It ends up being a masturbatory gathering of self-satisfied middle/upper class white liberals.

Also, yesterday I was in a discussion where a white female committed a cardinal sin: protesting that there was not appropriate attention given to issues of “whiteness”. The woman lamented the fact that we never think about what it’s like for whites to work with people of different ethnic/racial backgrounds. There are a couple of major problems with her complaint:

A) Whenever we’re not discussing diversity issues, chances are we are actually discussing issues by white people for white people
B) Diversity discussions tend to be always led from the perspective of whiteness, i.e. they are always filtered through a white perspective
C) Even if it were possible for there to be too much of a focus away from whiteness, would it really be a problem? This reminds me of those right-wingers who claim that affirmative action makes white Americans the new marginalized group. It’s just bullshit.

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