RE: Diversity (was: Morality is Relative)

From: Harvey Newstrom (
Date: Tue Aug 28 2001 - 10:10:44 MDT

Lee Corbin wrote,
> > Lee Corbin wrote:
> > > No, I don't like diversity at all (except economic diversity).
> > > It leads to group consciousness and divisiveness. Many people
> > > thus just simply can't help but think of themselves as "this
> > > Jew", or "this black woman", or "this gay person", etc.

This has not been my experience at all. I find most people strongly dislike
being pigeon-holed into a classification. Jews don't like being treated
different because they're Jews. Blacks don't like being treated different
because they're blacks. Women don't like being treated different because
they're women. Gays don't like being treated different because they're gay.
That's the whole point behind equal rights, to treat different groups the
same. Religion, race, gender and orientation shouldn't matter.

I believe diversity will help people become more comfortable with different
cultures. It should lessen the problem rather than increase it.

Besides, I don't know how you can dislike diversity. People are diverse.
Do you wish they weren't? Do you wish all those groups you mentioned would
be more like straight white males?

I believe divisiveness and group consciousness is the historical norm. More
diversity and mixing of cultures will help people to stop classifying people
by race or orientation as much.

Since self-organization, freedom, individuality, competition, free-market
and sometimes evolution are considered to be primary Extropian principals, I
find it hard to imagine an Extropian framework that does not seek to promote

> Well, it doesn't apply to you, then, if you don't so strongly
> identify with being a woman, or a lesbian, or whatever, to the
> point that it suppresses your own unique individuality. I'll
> grant that most of those who do not appreciate diversity will
> see you first as a whatever---but, sad to say, most of those
> who *do* appreciate diversity will also see you first as a
> whatever.

A common misconception about "them" or any other group. Let's assume you
are a straight white male. Do you self-identify your racial purity of
whiteness so much that it suppresses your own unique individuality? Are you
so male that you are the same stereotypical guy that every other male
stereotype is? Are you so identified as being straight, that you are not an
individual? I think it would be rather silly if you were. If your own
race, gender and orientation don't prevent you from being an individual, why
should you project this limitation onto other races, genders or

> And the more difficult question is: to what degree do you feel
> more comfortable with others who are women and lesbians (not
> redundant, it turns out)? Here is the horror: you *do* have
> more in common with them and so *must* have *some* comfort
> derived from that. There is the fiendish "reverberant doubt",
> a notion derived from what Hofstadter wrote about some game
> theory tableux: when not with a woman or a lesbian, you have
> to wonder, "does this person see me as different and perhaps
> cannot help but doing so and is perhaps asking him/herself
> "does this person see me as different and perhaps cannot help
> but doing so and is perhaps asking him/herself "does this person...

Maybe you are projecting your own thoughts onto others. Do you find
yourself uncomfortable in the presence of women? Do you prefer the presence
of men because you worry about how women view you? Do you feel
uncomfortable among Jews or blacks? Do you prefer to be among "your own
kind"? If so, you should realize that not everybody feels this way. If
not, why do you assume that everyone else must? Part of the concept of
diversity is that everybody is different.

> Yes, that seems correct to me. Wish us all luck, because we
> are going to need it, pace Singularity.

This sounds ominous. Do you think diversity is going to cause something bad
to happen? Why do we need to wish us all luck?

Harvey Newstrom <> <>

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