Every five years, a herd of perpetually disgruntled minority journalists gathers together to decry the lack of "diversity" in the media. This week, thousands of them will huff and puff in unison at the "UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc." convention in Washington, D.C. Both President Bush and Sen. John Kerry are scheduled to give their "I Heart Diversity More Than The Other Guy" speeches at UNITY on Thursday and Friday.
The Asian-American Journalists Association will complain about the lack of Asian-American male television news anchors. The National Association of Hispanic Journalists will attack the radio industry for not hiring enough Hispanic on-air personalities. The National Association of Black Journalists will lambaste newspaper publishers for not hiring enough black editors. And the Native American Journalists Association will grumble about the Washington Redskins.
In response, journalists of non-color will engage in obligatory self-flagellation. They'll promise to put more photos of minorities on the front pages of their papers. They'll vow to add more ethnic flavor to their airwaves. They'll step up racial sensitivity training. And they'll loudly proclaim their commitment to ensuring "diversity."
The diversity they seek is, by definition, skin-deep. They call themselves "journalists of color." Not journalists of substance. Or journalists of integrity. Or journalists of independent thought. I experienced this rainbow-tinted groupthink at the UNITY conference in Seattle in 1999, where I was the lone, out-of-the-closet conservative in a room of about 150 minority journalists.
After this Seattle "debate," a few journalists sent me secret hand signals or left whispered voice mail messages letting me know that they agreed with my point of view. The rest had groaned, snickered, and rolled their eyes when I criticized ethnic identity politics and voiced my support for University of California regent Ward Connerly's ballot initiatives to eliminate government race-based affirmative action.
Hey, can't we "journalists of color" all get along? Sure. But only if you stick to the liberal orthodox line. All others must endure the "Uncle Tom" slings and "Aunt Tomasina" arrows of the politically correct thought-enforcers -- an experience that is at first intimidating, then laughable, and finally painfully tiresome.