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A brief manifesto.

Diversity is an important value today. But I think it's overrated in a way.

As I've always understood it, diversity is about emphasizing and celebrating the differences between groups. But in truth, I think our group memberships are the least important things about us.

Some of them may say something about what we believe and what we are; others are simply labels. But groups are the lowest of our traits. It is our common humanity that binds us together; it is our truly unique differences that allow us to contribute and change society. Group membership may flavor our humanity and influence our individuality, but it makes no real contribution of its own. At the same time, though, groups create some of the worst extremes of our behavior: bigotry, tribalism, favoritism, persecution. They're important, but they should not be a focus of our attention, for good or for ill.

I am an American, a Californian, a Scotsman, a Jew, and an atheist. I am a hacker and a writer. I am the product of independent study and of the universities of Britain. I am a libertarian and an objectivist. I am a rational person.

And I don't want anyone else to celebrate these differences. I want them to respect them, understand them, and move on.

Whether you're elevating them or punishing them, emphasizing the differences between groups is the wrong approach. It is what we have in common, and what is truly unique to each person, that's really important.

Comments

sareth
Jun. 20th, 2008 03:13 pm (UTC)
Well said.

As a youth, one of my good friends was a black girl. We didn't care one bit about the whole skin color thing other than to be amused that our scars were the same color.

Got to be a teen, and suddenly, in the name of diversity and race relations, we got such a load of "Don't be racist! Notice the differences and strive to overcome them! Or else! Smite! Evil! Malice! Race relations!" that it actually made the relationship awkward as all of a sudden we began questioning ourselves...

Way to score one for the good guys, Fed...