The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

1 July 2003

Opinions in multiplicity

Susanna Cornett, on the sort of diversity we actually need:

I think that I, as a Southern conservative religious woman, bring something different to the table even in researching criminal justice than a Northern liberal atheist male. While naturally I'm going to think my course is best, in the aggregate it's important to have both perspectives because in reality we're neither one likely to hit "the truth", whatever that is, squarely on the head. We are led to new insights others may not have in part because of who we are and what our history is, and that to me is why it's crucial to have liberals and conservatives, all races, male and female, any permutation of potential intellectuals, in our nation's universities. It's not to give minorities a role model — although that's not a bad side benefit — but to introduce a different way of seeing the questions a certain discipline seeks to address. I personally think the ability to best use that perspective is clouded when the person is caught up in some ideological fervor that seeks to impose personal belief or ethnic or political overlays onto their work. My view of the world is informed by my religious beliefs, but my willingness to listen and consider other perspectives shouldn't be limited by them.

I really don't think that anyone's motivation for diversity is to provide role models for minorities; if anything, it's to provide minority role models for majority (read "white") students. John Rosenberg has written extensively on this phenomenon.

But beyond this quibble, she's absolutely right: the university needs as many viewpoints, left, right and center, as it can possibly get, and weeding out some of them because they might be politically unpopular, or "uncomfortable" for a segment of the student body, or for whatever reasons are invented next week, is counterproductive at best.

Posted at 10:37 AM to Political Science Fiction


Here, Here! (or is it Hear, Hear! Or maybe There, There! I seem to be having trouble with words these days. Maybe it's because I'm in Calif. and there's something in the air.) Anyway, I completely agree with Susanna Cornett's eloquent endorsement of a truly diverse diversity. And I'm also impressed with Peter Schuck's argument in his new book on diversity that such diversity can't be effectively produced by the state micromanaging the ethnicity market.

Posted by: John Rosenberg at 4:39 PM on 1 July 2003

What happens when someone comes to the table with the idea that they are absolutely right, as so happens in some cases by people of the "religious conservative" bent?

Need we be reminded that some people find the notion that "ideas are relative" quite distasteful?

How many times can you invite people to teh atble that simply take the stance that they are right your are wrong?

Posted by: bruce at 10:34 PM on 1 July 2003

I do it all the time. :)

Posted by: CGHill at 7:01 AM on 2 July 2003

What happens when someone comes to the table with the idea that they are absolutely right, as so happens in some cases by people of the "religious conservative" bent?

Oh, Bruce, Bruce, Bruce...

Read any Leftgrump tr0lls lately?

Posted by: McGehee at 9:16 AM on 2 July 2003

Who is this McGehee and what is that idiotic 'Leftgump' term he keeps using? He seems to think it has snowballed into an everyday term.

Finally: how 'script-kiddie-like' of him: 'tr0lls'.

Not witty at all.....

Gene

Posted by: Gene at 2:19 PM on 7 July 2003

Gene, neither is repeating yourself on multiple blogs. But I do appreciate the help you're giving me in my sinister master plan to insert "Leftgrump" into popular culture as an everyday term.

Still, slow it down a bit -- I don't have my copyright papers back yet, so someone else could steal the ownership rights to the word.

And that would make me unhappy.

Posted by: McGehee at 3:41 PM on 7 July 2003