Friday, April 16, 2010

How would you define the true value of Diversity....

Hi all (and especially my fellow bloggers here),

In a effort to provoke conversation and perhaps debate, I would like to invite all readers and bloggers of this site to comment on the following question: what is the value this society places on diversity?

Diversity, it sees to me, has evolved in these promising times as a value few would contest. Indeed, I am confident we are all familiar with institution after institution addressing their respective commitments to this core value. And of course, recent political events, such as the election of President Obama suggests that the antipathy of the average American towards Africa-Americans may have changed dramatically. Yet, we witnessed just a few days ago the leader of the Republican party in rare moment of brutal honesty suggest that despite the diversity value, some in this society are scrutinized more than others. I would suggest Michael Steele seemed to admit to a belief that we are not all equals in this society.

Despite Steele's rare moment of honesty or foolishness, we have all noticed the leaders of institution after institution speak of diversity and not themselves represent diversity or have their inner circle represent diversity. In other words, I wonder whether diversity represents a dialectic--two opposing visions that either undermine or define each other. Is diversity truly an effort that many, especially most American law schools, aspire to achieve? Or is speaking of diversity merely a means to effectively engage in legitimizing the myth of diversity -- a rhetoric that glosses over and undermines true diversity; hence the reality or
paradox of diversity. What I mean by the above is whether diversity has evolved to effectively a Red Herring that allows all to easily embrace the term, but in practice rarely make significant strides in achieving-- the paradox between tokenism vs inclusion.

Just some things I have been thinking about lately when witnessing institution after institution speaking of diversity...

Ediberto Roman


  1. For law schools, at least, I think diversity in the student body will become more important through interest convergence. Assuming the tuition obstacle can be surmounted, to sustain today's law schools and their growth trajectory will require expanding the applicant pools to the untapped groups of african american and latina/o candidates. Schools that embrace diversity in their faculty and in their outreach beyond traditional law school constituencies to reach local community groups and especially high schools and elementary schools will have an edge in this effort. Whether entering law school these days and in the future will be a prudent financial decision for a person of color, or anyone, is another question.

  2. I agree that we should exchange ideas about the value of diversity. Before we do that, can we even start by settling on a definition of diversity? It seems that these days, diversity is about including everyone who is not sitting at the table at that moment. This is done without regard to the present and historical power dynamics in the U.S. society or to whether the group is underrepresented. Any thoughts on this?


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