“Diversity” is not just a good in the academic world. It is the supreme good, the one good before which all other considerations must yield.
Recently, a colleague expressed a preference for a certain Northeastern city university over a certain Midwestern Christian college because, he said, the former has more “diversity” than the latter.
All that this means, though, is that because this big city university in the Northeast is a racial, ethnic, and socio-economic polyglot and its Midwestern Christian counterpart is just too white, the former is preferable as an educational institution to the latter.
That this god of “diversity” is as educationally invidious as it is false can be seen easily enough.
First, the only diversity that should be of any concern at an institution of higher learning is intellectual diversity. “Diversity” of the sort—what we may call “cultural diversity”—that is all too typical at places like that big city university for which my colleague pines, need not and, in fact, does not give rise to any more intellectual diversity than can be found at less culturally heterogeneous institutions.
This brings us to the next point: “cultural diversity” not only doesn’t correspond to a rise in intellectual diversity; it invariably corresponds to a rise in political uniformity. This is crucial, for the promotion of “cultural diversity” is nothing more or less than the promotion of a left-wing ideological agenda.
While academics, like my colleague, look upon predominantly white colleges as insufficiently “diverse,” they wouldn’t even think to level this same criticism against “historically black colleges.” They cannot, however, have it both ways: if a predominantly white Christian school is educationally inferior because of its mono-racial character, then, mutatis mutandis, black schools must also be educationally inferior because of their racially homogenous character.
Moreover, for all of their clamoring over the need for greater “diversity,” academics don’t want things so diverse that politically incorrect perspectives are permitted a hearing on campus. Representation of fundamentalist Christians, moral traditionalists, conservatives, libertarians, anarchists, is not only never in demand; its anathema.
Jack Kerwick received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jack blogs at Beliefnet.com: At the Intersection of Faith & Culture. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or friend him on facebook. You can also follow him on twitter.