All Thing Being Equal…… (Thing is, They’re Not)

jal

This post has me on an emotional roller coaster.

It starts as the twitter version of “I Have A Dream”.

It ends with ‘diverse/different doesn’t always = best’ – which….. fine – fair point.

But it’s that middle sentence.  “We are getting closer because everyone is considered now, but people are now chosen because of their diversity” (emphasis mine).

I’m not sure if this dude is flat out ignorant/bigoted, but if he was trying to be slick…….

Let’s just say if he winked any harder at his “secret” bias, he’d crush his eyeball.

To believe that opportunity is now universal and free from bias is the height of naivete, borderline ignorant, and at worst, closet bigotry via gaslighting. Racism is a thing; Classism is a thing; Sexism is a thing; Discrimination is a thing, and all of it permeates into any and all opportunities.

Then, to state – in no uncertain terms – that determining factors come down solely to race/gender, and accounting for the statement above where different =/= best, is also to say that you think someone else could have done the job better if they weren’t different; aka if they weren’t a minority.  It’s predetermined that an individual who happens to be a minority has not earned their spot; they were gifted it “because” they’re diverse or different; that there is certainly someone more qualified/deserving –  and that person would not have been different.

There are those who will have read that comment and who have been on the receiving end of closed doors due to their being different or diverse.  At the same time that people are chosen with the goal of diversity in mind, there exists more cases of those being denied because diversity isn’t valued, or worse, discouraged and feared.  Those people may feel the social subconscious that has kept them from achieving that which they are qualified for is represented in the attitude that different =/= best.

So, I replied.

If all you’ve ever eaten in your life is ham sandwiches, you probably can tell what the best ham for a sandwich is. You don’t have anything against other lunch meats, but you’re comfortable with ham and you know it well. Sure you’ve had turkey (for thanksgiving) and (fried) chicken; they’re fine and great, just not in a sandwich. Ham is for sandwiches.

The difficulty is, if you never try other types of sandwiches, then you wouldn’t really have any idea if you’re actually getting the best sandwich, nor would you be a good judge of good/bad sandwiches in a different context. Ham and cheese is well and good, but french dip is really good too with a different approach to a sandwich – but you wouldn’t know that.

The reason we even argue over “inclusion” is getting some people to choose beyond just what they’re comfortable with or they think “will sell” (or avoiding what they’re biased against). Without working with those from another walk of life – via forced interaction* or by conscious decision – they may continue to choose only what they’re comfortable with and we will never have the opportunity to learn what the best is.

*I am not an advocate for FORCED inclusion, but I also recognize that some people have ingrained biases that ruin things for everyone; those people should be removed from a position of decision making. In lieu of that being an option since we can’t easily identify biases and discriminators, we have forms of forced inclusion that – at the very least – creates an opportunity for those in the minority.

Yeah, I slow peddled it.  I wanted to try and get the conversation moving a little, playing to ingrained biases that we’re all blind to on some level and hoping to get that point acknowledged to start.

The words didn’t make it through.  The discussion devolved into a poor comparison of analogies with basketball teams and short people, Asian people, disabled people, etc. that could never make up the best basketball team.  Depending on context, that’s untrue: Everything requires context.  We don’t play basketball in a vacuum.  We certainly could make up the best basketball team depending on our situation, but I digress.  We never even got to the heart of the issue.  The point, that even opening the door to those who are different is the real issue, was already lost, or rather, it was dismissed.  As he said, “everyone is considered now”; oh right, you know, except that they’re not.

This isn’t to harp on this one guy; it just highlights a broader attitude towards diversity.  Some people believe that since we all use the same water fountains and bathrooms, racism is no more.  That sexism went away once women could vote.  That bigotry is something that only happen when crosses are being burned in yards.  Putting it nicely, that’s naive.  Putting it plainly, it’s flat ignorant.

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Do You Have Any Hope……..?

Colbert: “Do you have any hope tonight for the people out there, about how we could be a better country, we could have better race relations, we could have better politics?”
 
Coates: “No”
—————————————-
I hang my head a little after hearing that, having had similar thoughts over the last few month.
 
America has had a funny habit of moving the goal posts, or changing the rules of the game, in order to maintain the only balance of power it’s ever known. It’s something I had assigned to the past, thinking the America I grew up in would never cheat, lie, and steal the way it once did; it had learned; it knew better, and it had evolved into a more just and transparent democracy that would not let itself fail as it had in the past.
I was wrong.