Last night I read an editorial authored by a student from another Texas college. My first reaction to the title, “Unity is better than diversity,” was laughter. I assumed that it would be an editorial explaining the utility of diversity, and the possible terror of unity. I assumed incorrectly.
The author wrote that, “people seem to accept without question that [diversity] is a good thing, but no one I’ve talked to knows why” and later “diversity for the sake of diversity seems counterintuitive because differences always promote discord and unity always promotes peace.” I urge you, the reader, to please pause for a moment, and reflect on the previous quotes. If they do not strike a negative chord in your mind, please put this paper down, for my words will be wasted on you.
I have been known to accept the usefulness of diversity without putting much thought to it. This is not because I do not know ‘why’ it is useful, but instead I saw diversity as such an intuitive good that I gave as little thought to it as I would breathing. Suppose how often you ponder ‘why’ breathing is useful? However, it seems that not everyone has escaped the intellectual dark-ages that has been perpetuated by hereditary and cultural ignorance.
Diversity, which I define as ‘noticeable heterogeneity,’ is not limited only to racial diversity. It includes diversity of thought, religion, culture, etc. While it can be argued that American ideals were built by the wealthiest, Anglo-Saxon, Protestants of their era, it was not by any means built for them. To say that American culture is to be Caucasian, speak English and follow Jesus Christ as your personal savior, is a radical display of ignorance. American culture, if nothing else, is one of diversity. It is diversity and tolerance that allows America go grow, whereas unity for the sake of tranquility is something to be feared.
Geroge Orwell’s ‘1984’, though a work of fiction, depicts a world that is unified, and displays the peace which the author of “Unity is better than diversity” so yearns for. War exists between nations, and not the people within nations. There is no racism, intolerance or “conflict,” but the cost of these luxuries are their intellectual freedoms. The book was published 5 years after Nazi Germany fell, and in many ways, the book mirrors the unified thought of Hitler’s fascist regime.
Diversity is not always easy to achieve. When the author said, “people would have less conflict with those like them, than those very different from them” he was absolutely correct. Consider if words like conflict, diversity or equality leave a bad taste in your mouth. If they do, then my words will mean nothing to you, as words of reason are not understood by you. It is through conflict that groups of people can find compromise. It is from diversity that America draws its greatest strength. Equality.
So I shall restate the question: Do we really need diversity?