RE: Diversity (was: Morality is Relative)

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Wed Aug 29 2001 - 00:03:06 MDT

Russell writes

> Maybe I'm missing something, but when I say I like diversity I simply mean
> that I like living in a world where people have widely different life
> styles, interests, self-presentations, sexualities etc. I don't want to live
> in a world where everyone is the same. I like variety.
> Lee seems to have expressed not so much a contrary wish to this (though that
> may be what he feels) as an objection to identity politics built around
> these things. If that is so I have some sympathy, though I'd say that
> identity politics is sometimes necessary for people with unpopular
> characteristics to pursue more tolerance, better legal rights etc.
> Can you clarify what you don't like, Lee? Is it a variety of different kinds
> of people? Or is it the (sometimes necessary, I would say) evil of identity
> politics?

I dislike individuals being replaced, in effect, by groups. Now the
groups may indeed arise from history and geography, and what not, and
be real. But it's false for people to identify with their group at
the expense of seeing themselves and feeling themselves to be
individuals. Identity *politics* is only a part, but an important
part, of this.

When I was 18, I was running a junior chess program for the city.
An eleven year old suddenly asked me, "Are you Catholic?". When
I answered "No" I could see that a little barrier had sprung up
between us. That's one aspect. But until we control the genes
that determine racial groupings, we're helpless against the
divisions that naturally arise, say, between whites and blacks.

The diversity that you are speaking of---which is not what people
are usually meaning when they use the term---"people have widely
different life styles, interests, self-presentations, sexualities etc."
is fairly harmless. But what is the use of cultural diversity,
for example? None. So far as I can tell, it limits people, and
allows them and others to pigeonhole, and fosters divisiveness.


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