Homogeneity Was Our Strength

“Diversity enriches education,” then-presidential-candidate Barack Obama commented in a Q&A session with The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Students should be “exposed to diversity in all its forms,” and affirmative action is the vehicle to guarantee this goal.  Contrary to the expectations of naive commentators who hoped we had entered a new epoch, the election of the Great Unifier has not silenced the champions of di-versity but amplified them.  Emboldened by the intoxication of victory, Barack Obama’s followers now demand even more diversity.

Although diversity is today officially a part of the new holy trinity—along with egalitarianism and globalism—it may not be all it’s cracked up to be.  Robert D. Put-nam, Harvard professor of public policy, published in 2007 “E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century,” in which he argues, based on a survey of 26,200 people in 40 American communities, that in the face of ethnic diversity people tend to “hunker down” and to “act like turtles,” to distrust those around them.  The more racially diverse a community is, the greater the loss of trust.  Consequently, Los Angeles, “the most diverse human habitation in human history,” has the lowest index of trust.

Influenced by the writings of Putnam and others, Dora L. Costa and Matthew...

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