I actually came up with this cartoon during my junior year of high school, before I became very politically conscious. I found it again while looking through my old cartoons, and I was pleased to see that it could still be applied to the things that happen today.
I hate “diversity” as a moral imperative as much as I do “tolerance.” It’s the same sort of idea— that value is measured by how much we can avoid seeing distinctions between different ideas, and how much we can avoid any sort of judgment. The problem with this approach is that it hinders the constructive pursuit of better ideas.
In terms of people, “diversity” as a goal does little to reward actual merit. I’m reminded of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who proudly claimed that she was “a product of affirmative action.” All I could think when I heard that was “what capable individual was denied the opportunities he or she deserved because you happened to have a darker skin color?” It seems silly to me to value the differences in our backgrounds so much. Don’t we all have unique backgrounds and experiences? I don’t think we fit into the neat little categories that we hear about so much every day.
I understand the value of different perspectives and backgrounds. Different perspectives and backgrounds allow for different, and possibly better, ideas than those with which we are familiar. That is a goal that diversity helps work towards. But what people tend to do is hold these differences out as the goal in and of themselves, instead of the actual merit of the ideas that accompany them. When this happens, it’s hard to work towards drawing distinctions between good ideas and bad ideas, and our entire worldview becomes rather… muddy. Some would say that that’s just how the world is. I say that there are ideas that are better than others, and that sound judgment has the potential to be much more valuable than the ability to be nonjudgmental. When one paints a picture, one doesn’t just splash on a color because it’s different than the colors already on the canvas. One makes distinctions between the colors and combinations of colors to determine which would be best in order to achieve the artwork that one set out to create. We should have the same approach with our ideas.
What do you think of the cartoon? Let me know in the comments!