Ducks against diversity

Sunday’s Mallard Fillmore touched on an issue close to my heart—whether America’s college students are nincompoops. Cartoonist Bruce Tinsley’s contention: universities emphasize diversity at the expense of learning. The result, according to BT, is students who mindlessly spout the word “diversity.”

The argument appears in more serious fora than the funny pages, in forms more sophisticated—but still wrong. Some say that by emphasizing diversity (of races and personal experiences—and then, by extension—of interpretations, of approaches to learned material, etc.), professors elide the difference between right and wrong answers and thus do their students a disservice. This is a fair point. But we throw the baby out with the bathwater when we begin poking fun at the very concept of diversity. Instead we’ve got to fix current approaches so they do what they were intended to do—counter the mind’s stubborn resistance to changes in perspective, and the inertia and injustice that result from this resistance.

If we break the association between diversity of perspective and woolly-mindedness, then we can restore to social liberalism some of the clarity of purpose it desperately needs.


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