I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Do We, or Don't We, Value and Embrace Diversity?

We are bombarded all around by people clamoring for more diversity.  Diversity is the huge buzzword these days. 
The reason __________ is not successful is that there is not enough diversity. (you fill in the blank)

The Police forces in St. Louis County Missouri are not diverse enough.  Many departments are not according to this intriguing NY Times article. 

So wait a minute.  

Do we or do we not embrace diversity?

If diversity is good, then why is there any problem at all with a room full of white students being taught by an Asian?
Can a black police officer be effective policing a primarily white population-or must officers of color only police in black cities and neighborhoods?  Whaaaatt? 

Was there really a problem when a Jazz history class at San Diego State full of white students was taught by a distinguished musician and professor who also happened to be black?

I did not perceive that to be a problem-I was in Dr. Meadows’ class!

And, along that same line of thinking, what is wrong with a room full of primarily black students in an urban elementary school being taught by a young white female? 

Answer-there is no problem, or at least there should not be if we truly embrace diversity and the people filling these jobs are qualified.

Now we’re told that in order for   _____________    (you fill in the blank, school district, police force, government agency, high tech social media firm, etc. etc.)  To be effective and successful, these organizations MUST be made up of a representative makeup, racially, of the populations they serve. 

I disagree. 

And if anyone claims to value diversity, how could they not disagree with this absurd claim?

Diversity is good, and it can be good, but don’t organizations have a first responsibility to hire the best candidate for a job?  I think they should.

Otherwise, are we to believe that the NBA, comprised of 75-80% Black players cannot be as effective and/or successful as it could be--because its makeup does not reflect the population it serves?   Ditto for the NFL at 65% black.  (US population stats--roughly 60% white, 18% Hispanic, 12% Black, and 10% Asian and Other)

By the same token, must the high-tech firms recently accosted by Jesse Jackson for not being “diverse” enough-must these firms that are dominated in the employee ranks by White and Asian males really be more diverse in order to be successful?  Or does the same 

rationale for the imbalance in representation that occurs in pro Basketball apply to Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Yahoo?  

Does the competition and talent pool apply here too like in pro sports?    You decide.

Here is a newsflash.  In this wonderful country we live in-people don’t have to be put in neat little boxes to appease the PC social engineers.  People have free will and can choose their own destiny-and their own career path.

And the influence the Family plays in these life-path decisions cannot be under-estimated.

For example…..
In a middle class home headed by a father who serves in the military, the children of this family, while free to choose any path they wish, may opt for military, police, fire, or public service.  With the right scholarships and if the stars align, maybe a good university and a professional career would be in the works.

Children from the homes of wealthy and well-connected Lawyers, Doctors, and/or other highly paid professionals, while free to choose any occupation, more than likely go on to a university and follow in the family’s footsteps as career professionals.

The children from poor families, while free to choose whatever path they can attain, may attend college on a scholarship, may attend trade school, or may choose to directly enter the workforce.

Some minority families place a high emphasis on sports, and children in these households spend many hours honing their athletic skills.  While free to choose any life path they want, many from these households pursue athletics.  Many achieve great results, college scholarships, accolades, and some even make it into the professional leagues. 

Other minority groups may place an extraordinary emphasis on family, work, and education-and the children of these families spend their hours in the books, not on the fields or courts of play.  Many of these children go on to highly successful business and professional careers.

And there is no pigeonholing meant here, no boxing, categorizing, shoe-horning, and no stereotyping.  There is crossover and anyone is free to do anything he/she wants if it is within their innate ability to achieve it here in America.  And thank God for that, right!?

The important thing is this, though.  Actually, it is 2 (two) things.

1.  Just because there are not enough _____________ in the field of _____________ does not mean there is some nefarious, sinister plan that makes it this way.  Families influence children, and choices get made at the family level that influence the direction people go, period.  Accept it!

2. If we truly value diversity, then it needs to cut both directions and people ought not espouse the garbage position that it’s okay for one organization or several organizations to be imbalanced racially, but not others?  

Those that spew this rhetoric obviously have not figured out that it is hypocritical to say diversity is only good if it applies to one's cherry-picked, hand selected occupations and positions-but not others.  

You can’t have it both ways and expect to also have any credibility at all, so far as I’m concerned.

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