The ‘Diversity’ Road to Mediocrity

When you are looking for a scientist, an engineer, a designer, or an artist, if the most brilliant, accomplished, and talented candidate is a white male, reject him! White males are not “diverse,” are “privileged oppressors,” and “overrepresented,” so instead hire a member of a “marginalized. underserved minority,” such as a person of color, a female, an LGBTQ++ individual, a poor or disabled person. Never mind if the person hired is weaker at the job; “social justice” will have been served. The examples are staggering.

The competition for the 2021 Australian National Jazz Awards for piano was carried out via blind auditions using audio recordings, with the names, faces, and voices of the competitors not disclosed. The ten short-list candidates were all men. Female jazz performers went ballistic, denouncing the results as sexist and unfair. They demanded that blind auditions be done away with and that a quota for female winners be implemented. In other words, the female critics demanded that merit be rejected in favor of enforced parity of the sexes.

An even more egregious case is the competition for the prestigious fellow status for the American Geophysical Union. One committee was appointed to nominate candidates in the cryosphere (Earth’s snow and ice) section. Some of the candidates were described by the female member of the committee as “truly, amazingly deserving.” But the nominees, suggested by peers in the Union, were all men. This was too much for the diversicrats on the committee, who felt that “social justice” demanded the nomination of more females, more blacks, and more non-Americans. So the Committee refused to nominate a winner.

The claim made by diversicrats was that there is “implicit bias” against outgroup members, i.e. people who are not white males. It is alleged that members of oppressed victim groups, such as females and people of color, are not recognized for their accomplishments. A study in Scientific Social Studies concluded that prizes in 141 of the world’s top scientific competitions between 2001-2020 went to 2011 men and 262 women. This is a disparity that violates the “equity” argument that all census categories of race, sex, sexuality, etc., must have equal outcomes.

That this disparity is due to “implicit bias” is now claimed about all scientific prizes, such as the Nobel Prizes in science, three percent of which have been given to females, and none to black scientists. The fact that 26% of all scientific Nobel prizes went to Jews, who make up 0.02 percent of the world’s population, raises doubts about the implicit bias thesis, given the almost universal prejudice and widespread discrimination against Jews, who are by far the greatest recipient of religion-directed hate crimes. The alternative hypothesis that awards to Jews and others are based on scientific accomplishments is forbidden by diversicrats.

In just about every institution in what used to be Western Civilization, white males are personae non gratae. Job ads often exclude white men from applying, as is seen in many ads for university positions. This is also true in business. For example, one of the world’s largest investment companies, State Street Global Advisors will require special permission to hire white men as part of the company’s new diversity hiring initiative, according to the company’s head of inclusion, diversity, and corporate citizenship. The company said that “All of our leaders have to demonstrate at their annual appraisals what they have done to improve female representation and the number of colleagues from ethnic-minority backgrounds.” The company plans to triple the number of Black, Asian and other minority staff in senior positions by 2023, and if executives don’t meet the quotas, they will face reduced bonuses. No requirement is specified for achievement, merit, or potential.

But females, if white, are not sufficiently diverse. The St. Catherine University conference on equipping and empowering women for leadership roles was canceled when the University discovered that all thirty of the invited participants were white women. The administration stated that the lineup did “not reflect the diverse St. Kate’s community of today nor the world of tomorrow we are committed to creating.” While the administration granted that the credentials of the speakers were strong, the selection “led to a racial and ethnic blind outcome.”

“Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) has replaced achievement, merit, and potential as the official policy of most North American institutions—governmental, educational, industrial, and professional—for recruitment, promotion, and financial support.

Social justice” is the justification for DEI, and is defined as the statistical equivalence of census categories of race, sex, sexuality, class, ability, and in some cases mental stability. The liberal definition of “justice” as an individual receiving his or her due is replaced by the collectivist idea of race and sex, etc. representation in any group at (at least) the level of the race and sex, etc. in the general population.

Any discrepancy or disparity between the representation of a category and its percentage in the general population in an institution—a business, a board of directors, a conference panel, fellowship holders, government cabinet members—is deemed an offence against “social justice,” and explained by one only one factor: bigoted race, sex, sexuality, able, and class discrimination. This false claim ignores the many familial, educational, economic, and cultural influences that can lead to disparities of outcome. Who discriminated against whites on behalf of the professionally and economically successful Asians? Who discriminated against whites and Asians and in favor of blacks in the highly paid National Football League and National Basketball Association?

Recruiting, hiring, promotion, funding, and honoring in the DEI dispensation weighs the distribution of race, sex, sexuality, ableness, and class as the primary criteria for selection, with secondary factors such as achievement and merit given lip service but ignored in practice.

What DEI means in practice is a decided preference for people of color, females, LGBTQ++, for indigenous natives, the disabled, the poor and homeless, and those with mental problems. Those who are unpreferred and rejected, because they are allegedly “privileged” and overrepresented, are whites, males, heterosexuals, Asians, and Jews.

Advocates of diversity argue not only that “social justice” requires equal outcomes for members of census categories, but also that diversity is beneficial, enriching, and advances excellence. A working group on diversity at McGill University proposed avoiding adducing any empirical evidence to support diversity’s advancing of excellence by simply redefining excellence as diversity. That keeps it simple.

Pious claims that diversity advances excellence, as a result of “diverse points of view” and “diverse lived experience,” are widespread, even if actual evidence of this is lacking. A rare field in which systematic quantitative evidence is available is the performance of diversity or “affirmative action” admissions in universities. The results should not surprise any rational person: diversity admissions with weak records do poorly on every metric, including low grades, changes to less demanding majors, and below-average graduate rates.

Let us consider the exclusion of males and whites from a demographic point of view. Even if we assume, against all evidence, that achievement, talent, and capability are distributed equally among all sectors of the population, what would be the consequences of the exclusion of males and whites? Males are half of the population. So in any ten recruitments, men would be the best candidates in five. If men are excluded from the competitions, then for half of the recruitments, the best possible candidates would be unavailable. Non-Hispanic whites make up 60% of the U.S. population, and Hispanic whites 10%, for a total of 70%, That means that out of ten recruitments, seven of the best candidates would be white. (If you want to exclude Hispanic whites from being white, then six of the best candidates would be white.) In sum, excluding males and whites means ignoring the strongest candidates in most recruitments.

Maybe it does not matter too much if sociology professors or investment advisors are diversity hires, excellent mainly in their skin color, sex, or sexuality practices. But do you want your airline pilot or surgeon to be a diversity hire? How about federal cabinet ministers running the government, or general officers guiding the military? Is it more important to have a rainbow of diversity or the highest level of functional excellence in their roles?

The West faces an existential challenge from Communist China that explicitly intends to become the dominant power in the world. Do you think that China selects its engineers, scientists, economists, and military leaders for their “diversity,” or do they select them for their achievements, intelligence, capabilities, and creative potential? Given this disparity, who would you bet on?


Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by PJ Media on November 19, 2021 and is crossposted here with permission.

Image: Diego Jimenez, Public Domain

Philip Carl Salzman

Philip Carl Salzman is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at McGill University, Senior Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and President of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.

10 thoughts on “The ‘Diversity’ Road to Mediocrity

  1. The picture is appropriate — both US & Canadian highway standards specify a yellow center line with all other lines being white. Canada uses a lighter shade of yellow, but the principle remains the same — any oncoming traffic will be to the left of the yellow line, even on a divided highway.

    Painting all the lines yellow promotes uniformity — at the expense of safety.

  2. Only when there’s a major plane crash because the “xir” in the cockpit didn’t know what they were doing will people wake up. Probably be too late by then.

    1. Worse is what has happened to our military. O-6 and above has always been political, but Obama started a purge which continues.

      As tragic as a major crash would be, this is far more scary. And don’t forget the gay activist who rolled an Amtrak train in North Philadelphia by going around a curve at over twice the posted speed — 105 MPH if I recall correctly.

  3. I see little concern or spirit to fight this. People don’t really believe it is going to hurt American science. It may take a technology or science failure or scare to turn it around. But it might not be so easy to recover.

    1. If you’ve got a way to fight this we’d all love to hear it. As it stands now if you register a formal complaint you are branded as a hater and can kiss of getting any future funding. No funding, no promotion, no tenure. Filing lawsuits will get you nowhere because the funding agencies can always find an excuse why funding was denied that courts will accept. And again your a hater so no funding for you. Ever.

      Oh yes, there is plenty of concern out here. The problem is nobody has come up with an effective way to stop it. In the mean time mediocre engineers and scientists will continue to get hired and funded just so some DEI bureaucrat can show in a powerpoint presentation how many females and under represented minorities are on the STEM payroll.

      1. Patti, remember what happened to the railroads. They had a superior technology — still do, one boxcar is two trucks, its 187,000 lb limit versus 80,000 for the truck — including tractor — and the far lower friction of steel on steel.

        Yet trucks offered better service. And trucks won.

        Some other model of education is going to offer more competent engineers and the corrupt American university will implode.

      2. There is little concern in the sense that most STEM people in academia support DEI, or are indifferent. I hate to say that, but it’s true. And yeah, those who oppose it are dispirited, for reasons similar to what you talk about. No spirit, no fight. It will take a massive change in thinking. A great re-awakening you could say, to replace the great awokening. I see no sign of it. The Diversity steamroller is just picking up steam. A group like the National Association of Scholars (that sponsors this website) has been going for 30 years or so, to basically no effect.

        A few people can perhaps fight it without getting crushed, if they’re in one or another special group. Female scientists — of whom a tiny fraction are anti-woke. People like Glenn Loury and John McWhorter, because they are black, can get away with stuff no white person could.

  4. This post came out on the same day that a McGill chemistry professor went public with his story, which came out in the National Post this morning: Professor Kambhampati (a minority name if there ever was one!) was denied two research grants, one NSERC and one NFRF, because he refused to answer the DEI question on his application as one must. He insisted he would hire on MERIT!
    Check it out here:

    https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/minority-professor-denied-grants-because-he-hires-on-merit-people-are-afraid-to-think
    He’s thrown down the gauntlet by going public. Now it’s time to join forces and fight back. Canadian innovation needs merit, not identity politics.

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