Thinking Through Diversity in the 21st Century: A Situational Approach

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  • 1. Thinking Through Diversity in the21st Century: A Situational Approach john a. powell Executive Director, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity Williams Chair in Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, Moritz College of Law
  • 2. Diversity in the United States 2010 Population Estimates:  242 million non-Hispanic whites  47 million Latino  40 million Black or African American  16 million Asian  5 million Muslim  4 million Native American  3 million Arab Americans The United States is richly diverse place.  Melting Pot or Framed Mosaic? 2
  • 3. In 2007, the percentage distribution ofstudents enrolled in degree-grantinginstitutions, by race/ethnicity were asfollows: Percentage Race/Ethnicity Distribution White 64.4 Total Minority 32.2 Black 13.1 Hispanic 11.4 Asian or Pacific Islander 6.7 American Indian & Alaskan Native 1 Nonresidential Alien 3.4 Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2009). Digest of Education Statistics, 2008 (NCES 2009-020), Table 226
  • 4. African American v. Immigrant Black College enrollment rates of immigrant blacks (75.1%) are higher than those for native blacks (60.2%). Black immigrants are more likely than are native blacks to enroll in institutions of higher education, regardless of type (e.g., four-year college, non-HBCU four-year college, selective four-college). According to some research, SES may account for much, although not all, of the differences in college matriculation between immigrant and native black Bennett, Pamela R. and Amy Lutz. 2009. “How African American is the Net Black Advantage? Differences in College Attendance between Whites, Immigrant and Native Blacks.” Sociology of Education 82:70-100.
  • 5. The Logic of Diversity Origins and Rationale
  • 6. Regents Diversity emerged out of the struggle against racism, and specifically Bakke.v. Bakke JUSTICE POWELL -Race-conscious measures must be “precisely tailored to serve a compelling governmental interest” -Rejects societal discrimination as a rationale because it’s too “amorphous” - Diversity is identified as a compelling interest - Using race as a plus-factor is okay, but quotas and set-asides aren’t Source: Dan Tokaji 6
  • 7. The Logic of DiversityDiversity of Identity, Diverse Better Beliefs, Perspectives OutcomesExperiencesSource: Scott Page, “A Logic of Diversity II” (available online) 7
  • 8. Logic of Diversity  “Most of the time the diverse group outperforms the group of the ‘most talented’ individuals by a substantial margin” Whether in a laboratory or a democracy, diversity benefits everyoneSource: Lu Hong and Scott Page, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2002) 8
  • 9. Toolbox ViewABC ABD ACD AHK FD AEGBCD ADE BCD EZ BCD IL Alpha Group Diverse Group 9
  • 10. Multidisciplinary ViewEcon Econ Econ Math Hist PolisciEcon Econ Econ Soc Econ Bio Alpha Group Diverse Group 10
  • 11. ViewFive Jim Phelps vs. MI Task Force
  • 12. Defining Diversity“Dialogue is necessary and possible. If we were just the same, dialoguewould not be necessary. If we were totally different, dialoguewouldn’t be possible.”
  • 13. What do we mean by diversity?  There is a lack of conceptual rigor regarding diversity  Socially constructed  Current divisions not natural  Since they are socially constructed, they require deliberate, targeted interventions  Not numerically alone (although important) Pursuing Transformative Diversity.13
  • 14. Diversity is Fluid Neither possible to have complete homogeneity, nor desirable. Diversity is underspecified  a continuum of diversity from absolute heterogeneity (randomness) to absolute homogeneity. Just valuing diversity as diversity doesn’t tell us what kind of diversity matters and why.
  • 15. Contextual Diversity
  • 16. Diversity as Cousin to Colorblindness Diversity is de-contextual. Without context, we all have equal standing in a claim for diversity. Diversity doesn’t tell us which differences we should value and why. Diversity doesn’t tell us anything about the construction of difference, which is a relational/dialectical process.
  • 17. Diversity is Top-Down Diversity is often elite sponsored, and serves a legitimating function. See Grutter: • Citing the dominance of lawyers in leadership positions in the national and state capitols, Justice O’Connor argued that the law school’s affirmative action policy ensured that the pathways to leadership remain visibly “inclusive of talented and qualified individuals of every race and ethnicity.” • Otherwise, she cautioned, our democratic leaders might lack “legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry,” and the institutions of higher education that provide this training might lose public confidence in their “openness and integrity.”
  • 18. Situatedness/Contextual Diversity We need to shift away from formal diversity to contextual diversity. If we look at systems and structures and situatedness, then we capture power. Contextual diversity suggests sensitivity to marginalization, exclusion/inclusion, and separateness.
  • 19. Contextual Approach Power Implicit Bias / Structures/ Mind Science Institutional Arrangements19