by guest contributor Jack Baldwin
One of the most frustrating things that our society now values is diversity, something I have never seen as an inherently good or bad thing. Speaking as an individual that would be labelled a radical 60 years ago, a classical liberal 30 years ago, and a bigot today, I declare I could not care less about your race, your gender, your sexuality or your religion. I only care about your actions and your values.
According to my set of values, I would not hold a group of diverse criminals in higher esteem than a group of homogenous criminals. Because diversity has been so unanimously accepted as a positive in mainstream British culture, my position is an unpopular one. Call me old-fashioned, but I am yet to be convinced that any protected characteristic provides an individual, or indeed a collective, with more or less virtue.
A diversity quota is a hiring practice that gives preference to ‘protected group members’. They have been recommended by the London School of Economics and Political Science, and have been adopted in public and private institutions across the UK, including the BBC and the Labour Party. The underlying logic is that a lack of diversity is evidence of unfairness, and that a diverse work force (as opposed to a qualified work force) can only be a good thing.
The BBC has issued a diversity target for women to represent 50% of their workforce, which at first glance may appear to make sense, so much as the UK female population is more or less equal to 50%. However, it completely disregards the fact that the amount of female applicants may not be 50%, and that the necessary qualifications may not be evenly represented between the two genders.
Let’s explore this logic with some example professions. Women make up 90% of nursing students (UCAS, 2016), and 88.4% of UK registered nurses (Nursing & Midwifery Council, 2016). Perhaps men are discriminated against in nursing, or perhaps women tend to go into nursing at a higher rate, and tend to be better qualified.
We then have construction jobs. Men make up 99% of on-site construction jobs. and 98% of construction apprenticeships (UCATT, 2013). Perhaps women are discriminated against in construction, or perhaps men tend to go into construction at a higher rate, and tend to be better qualified.
Asians are over represented at a rate of 417% in the field of computer programming (Census Bureau, 2015). Are Asians given more lenient treatment in hiring processes because of their race, or do they happen to go into programming at a higher rate, and tend to be better qualified?
Merely by looking at these few examples, I am convinced the ideology of the diversity quota is inherently flawed, as it completely disregards the fact that inequality is not proof of inequity. Diversity quotas will endorse inequality of opportunity, so as to force equality of outcome. If you are a white man, wishing to work for the BBC, your application will be treated with more scrutiny purely due to your gender and race, through no fault of your own, because white men are over represented in the BBC. Once upon a time our society unanimously agreed that treating individuals differently based on gender, race, and sexuality was not progressive. Skip forward a few decades and diversity quotas have somehow convinced us of the opposite.
IF SOMEONE TELLS YOU THEY VALUE DIVERSITY, THEY ARE PROBABLY LYING
The most entertaining of these liars are the fringe that have redefined the term to mean the opposite of its dictionary definition. For example, this digital news company praises Marvel’s up and coming Black Panther movie as ‘hella diverse’, with its 90% African/African-American cast, which requires nil commentary from myself to expose as illogical. Yet there are the ever so slightly more subtle liars, that have concluded only a select few types of diversity are positives. Diversity of race, gender and sexuality are all positives. Diversity of opinion however, not so much.
If diversity is a positive, why are there so many exceptions to the rule?
ADVOCATES FOR DIVERSITY ARE ACCOMPLISHING THE OPPOSITE
Our protected characteristics have been expanding. More and more groups have been added to our protected characteristics to the point that they are becoming increasingly more difficult to remember; even the LGBT(QQIAAP) community is finding it difficult to keep up with the incessant acronyms.
While diversity advocates call for companies to employ an equal amount of individuals from all the groups they have divided our society into, I’m left wondering how long it will take them to realise that there is no group more diverse than a group of individuals. The radical left has been dedicating much of its time lately to dividing our population by race, by gender, by sexuality, by religion, and by nationality and a multitude of categories. Why not carry on dividing and sub dividing? There are countless sub groups to be coined within any of these characteristics. If we carry on going, we can divide our population by size, by weight, by profession, by political beliefs, by interests, and keep fragmenting these and other groups all the way down to the individual. The more groups and sub groups we coin, the more we realise they are infinite, and that we would be getting it right if we were to re-adopt individualism. A country made up of 65 million diverse individuals, all with their own traits and personalities, will always be more diverse than any population divided into a few groups.
ALL BASES ARE COVERED BY INDIVIDUALISM
This brings me to what I believe is the solution to the problem. It seems that these attitudes all stem from the desire to protect those that are in the minority, which I find commendable. However the policies derived from these attitudes take on a collectivist form, wherein the idea is that if it is for the benefit of the collective, the individual can and must be steam rolled.
I often get accused of being unfeeling for not supporting ‘minority rights’. To this, I say I support individual rights, and that there is no smaller minority than the individual. When policies reach the stage where a ‘minority’ must be protected at the expense of the individual, diversity advocates have become exactly that which they seek to destroy.
American Sociological Review
Harvard Business Review
House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee
Nursing & Midwifery Council
Office for National Statistics
The University of Chicago Press