Talking about Diversity


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Talking about Diversity

  1. 1. Talking about Diversity john a. powell Williams Chair in Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, Moritz College of Law Director, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity Moritz College of Law Orientation August 13, 2009
  2. 2. Presentation Overview <ul><li>What Is Diversity Important? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Colorblindness Versus Color-Consciousness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implicit Bias </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Logic and Benefits of Diversity </li></ul><ul><li>Challenges to Diversity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Individual Versus Democratic Merit </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Moving Forward </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why Is Diversity Important?
  4. 4. What Is Diversity? <ul><li>Diversity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>versus </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Multiculturalism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>versus </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Racial Justice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>versus </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Post Racialism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>versus </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Colorblind Racialization </li></ul>
  5. 5. Colorblindness <ul><li>Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Court ruled 5-4 that race could be one of numerous factors used by admissions boards in order to have a holistic review of the applicants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Justice Powell believed quotas were an unfair advantage for minority applicants and found it unconstitutional because they discriminated against non-minority applicants </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Colorblindness <ul><li>In Bakke , the Court debated whether the Fourteenth Amendment was a colorblind principle. </li></ul><ul><li>The Court has struggled with this question ever since. </li></ul><ul><li>Is the Fourteenth Amendment an substantive equality principle or merely an anti-discrimination principle? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Regents v. Bakke <ul><li>JUSTICE POWELL </li></ul><ul><li>Race-conscious measures must be “precisely tailored to serve a compelling governmental interest” </li></ul><ul><li>Rejects societal discrimination as a rationale because it’s too amorphous </li></ul><ul><li>Diversity can be a compelling interest </li></ul><ul><li>Using race as a plus-factor is okay, but quotas and set-asides aren’t </li></ul>Source: Dan Tokaji
  8. 8. Justice Marshall’s Bakke Dissent <ul><li>“ Had the Court been willing in 1896, in Plessy v. Ferguson, to hold that the Equal Protection Clause forbids differences in treatment based on race, we would not be faced with this dilemma in 1978. “ </li></ul><ul><li>“ We must remember, however, that the principle that the &quot;Constitution is colorblind&quot; appeared only in the opinion of the lone dissenter. 163 U.S. at 559. The majority of the Court rejected the principle of color blindness, and for the next 60 years, from Plessy to Brown v. Board of Education, ours was a Nation where, by law, an individual could be given &quot;special&quot; treatment based on the color of his skin.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ It is because of a legacy of unequal treatment that we now must permit the institutions of this society to give consideration to race in making decisions about who will hold the positions of influence, affluence, and prestige in America. “ </li></ul>
  9. 9. Analyzing How We Talk About Race <ul><li>False dichotomies as frames: </li></ul><ul><li>1) Black / White </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A racial continuum has yet to be accepted by most people </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>2) Civil Rights / Post-Racialism </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Older Americans: Civil Rights angle </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Younger Americans: a post-racial perspective </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Whites tend to be absent from this discussion </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>3) Race is not important / Race is important </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not important = colorblind </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Is important = color-conscious </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Colorblindness v. Color-Consciousness <ul><li>Color blindness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The logic: Since we know race is socially constructed (not scientific), we should eliminate racial categories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This perspective assumes “that the major race problem in our society is race itself, rather than racism.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attempting to ignore race is not the same as creating equality </li></ul></ul>john a. powell. “The Colorblind Multiracial Dilemma: Racial Categories Reconsidered.” (1997) <ul><li>Is colorblindness an appropriate shift in how we perceive race? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NO. Colorblindness will not end racism. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Colorblindness v. Color-Consciousness <ul><li>Color- Consciousness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This perspective acknowledges that race can be a divisive issue in our society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Policies and interventions need to address race; otherwise they will only provide partial solutions to problems that are grounded in race </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Acknowledging race through a multicultural frame can reduce prejudice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Color-consciousness fosters an appreciation of each group’s contributions to society </li></ul></ul>Philip Mazzocco. “The Dangers of Not Speaking About Race.” 2006
  12. 12. Implicit Bias <ul><li>People have multiple networks that may be activated without our awareness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Depending on the situation, one network becomes dominant over the others </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Even though we may fight them, implicit biases reside within us… </li></ul>
  13. 13. Our Unconscious Networks <ul><li>What colors are the following lines of text? </li></ul>
  14. 14. Our Unconscious Networks <ul><li>What colors are the following lines of text? </li></ul>
  15. 15. Our Unconscious Networks <ul><li>What colors are the following lines of text? </li></ul>
  16. 16. Our Unconscious Networks <ul><li>What colors are the following lines of text? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Our Unconscious Networks <ul><li>What colors are the following lines of text? </li></ul>
  18. 18. Implicit Bias – The Shooter Game <ul><li>In a video-game experiment, images of suspects - both armed and unarmed, black and white – flash rapidly on a monitor. Within a split-second, subjects must decide whether to shoot. </li></ul><ul><li>Participants must assess whether the man in each picture is carrying a gun. Within 850 milliseconds they must press one key to shoot or another to leave the figure unharmed. </li></ul><ul><li>After repeated experimentation, people’s mistakes, although rare, follow a pattern: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They shoot more unarmed blacks than unarmed whites; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They fail to shoot more whites than blacks are holding weapons. </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. What Would You Do?
  20. 20. Implicit Association Test
  21. 21. Implicit Bias – Unconscious Modeling The Kanizsa Triangle
  22. 22. Priming <ul><li>Our environment affects our unconscious networks </li></ul><ul><li>Priming activates mental associations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Telling someone a scary story activates a frame of fear </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Claude Steele’s “stereotype threat”: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For example, tell students about to take a test that Asian students tend to do better than whites, and the whites will perform significantly worse than if they had not been primed to think of themselves as less capable than Asians. </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Race-Neutrality? <ul><li>Given the forces of implicit bias, framing, and priming, race neutrality is not a reasonable or effective goal </li></ul><ul><li>We need a new paradigm: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Targeted policies alone are not desirable because they appear to show favoritism toward a certain group, thus stigmatizing them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Universal policies alone are not useful; they fail to account for the fact that people are situated differently in the economic and social landscape of society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>So… Targeted Universalism </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Targeted Universalism <ul><li>Targeted universalism is an approach that supports the needs of the particular while reminding us that we are all part of the same social fabric </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Universal, yet captures how people are differently situated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Targets those who are most marginalized </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Targeted universalism is a common framework through which to pursue justice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A model which recognizes our linked fate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A model where we all grow together </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A model where we embrace collective solutions </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Targeted Universalism <ul><li>Targeted Universalism recognizes racial disparities and the importance of eradicating them, while acknowledging their presence within a larger inequitable, institutional framework </li></ul><ul><li>Targeted interventions must recognize the interconnected nature of our structures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Attempts to address singular issues in isolated ways will ultimately fail </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. The Logic and Benefits of Diversity
  27. 27. The Logic of Diversity Diversity of Identity, Beliefs, Experiences Diverse Perspectives Better Outcomes Source: Scott Page, “A Logic of Diversity II” (available online)
  28. 28. The Logic of Diversity <ul><li>According to Page, problem solving and prediction relies on two explanatory concepts—perspectives and heuristics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The more diverse the causal perspectives, the wider the range of potentially viable solutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Heuristics are problem-solving tactics that tell problem-solvers working within a perspective how to search for potential improvements on solutions </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Diversity or Ability: A Test <ul><li>Group 1: Best 20 individual problem-solvers </li></ul><ul><li>Group 2: Random 20 problem-solvers </li></ul><ul><li>Have each group work collectively ; when one person gets stuck, another group member tries to find a further improvement </li></ul><ul><li>Group stops when no one can find a better solution </li></ul>
  30. 30. Toolbox View ABD EZ AHK FD Alpha Group Diverse Group ADE BCD ABC BCD ACD BCD AEG IL
  31. 31. Multidisciplinary View Econ Soc Math Hist Alpha Group Diverse Group Econ Econ Econ Econ Econ Econ Polisci Bio
  32. 32. Logic of Diversity <ul><li>“ Most of the time the diverse group outperforms the group of the “most talented” individuals by a substantial margin </li></ul><ul><li>Whether in a laboratory or a democracy, diversity benefits everyone </li></ul>Source: Lu Hong and Scott Page, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2002)
  33. 33. Benefits of Diversity <ul><li>Education for all students </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More tolerant and inclusive viewpoints </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduced intergroup prejudice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improved intercultural competence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enhanced critical thinking and integrative complexity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More creativity and intellectual confidence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Higher levels of parental involvement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More productive workplace relationships with other-race people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Less residential segregation </li></ul></ul>Source: Brief of 553 Social Scientists, Parents Involved
  34. 34. Benefits of Diversity <ul><li>Education for non-White students </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Modest positive achievement gains for Black and Latino students (no negative impact on test scores of White students) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Higher-quality resources (funding, class size, rigorous coursework, teachers) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More qualified teachers and less teacher turnover </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Higher HS graduation rates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Richer social and professional networks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Higher income for African Americans </li></ul></ul>Source: Brief of 553 Social Scientists, Parents Involved
  35. 35. Benefits of Diversity <ul><li>Daryl Smith et al. also found that institutional and structural diversity initiatives have numerous education and social benefits for all students </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Access and success </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Larger numbers of diverse people lend to fewer stereotypes; perceived intuitional commitment to diversity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Campus climate and intergroup relations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunities for interaction; perceived institutional commitment to diversity equals more positive student climate views </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education and scholarship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Enhanced cognitive development; more positive effect on attitudes toward racial issues </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Institutional viability </li></ul></ul>Source: Smith, Daryl and Natalie B. Schonfeld. 2000. “The Benefits of Diversity: What the Research Tells Us.” About Campus .
  36. 36. Challenges to Diversity Individual Versus Democratic Merit
  37. 37. Challenges to Diversity <ul><li>Diversity often comes under attack as an assault on merit </li></ul><ul><li>Merit is usually thought of in individualistic terms, meaning that achievements and accolades are considered the product of individual effort </li></ul><ul><li>Individual merit focuses on using these past achievements as predictors of future success </li></ul>
  38. 38. Merit <ul><li>Limitations of individualistic merit: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reinforces myth of the ‘American dream’ (hard work  success); stigmatizes those who do not succeed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marginalized groups do not benefit from a few members being given preference—need interventions that lift up group collectively </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. Merit <ul><li>As Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers points out: </li></ul><ul><li>“ People don’t rise from nothing. We do owe something to parentage and patronage. The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot.” </li></ul>Source: Gladwell, Malcolm. 2008. Outliers: The Story of Success
  40. 40. Merit <ul><li>Knowing what successful individuals are like tells us nothing about their success </li></ul><ul><li>When and where we came from makes a difference </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The cultures we belong to and legacies that were passed down to us shape our patterns of achievement </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“Extraordinary achievement is less about talent than it is about opportunity” </li></ul>Source: Gladwell, Malcolm. 2008. Outliers: The Story of Success
  41. 41. Individual Versus Democratic Merit <ul><li>Individual Merit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focuses on past achievement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relies on “objective” measures (GPA, ACT/SAT scores, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fails to account for external constraints, such as structural racialization </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Democratic Merit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Invests in democratic potential </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Considers how students may contribute to society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Group-level focus </li></ul></ul>
  42. 42. Individual Versus Democratic Merit <ul><li>Merit, however, is often poorly conceived of and fails to “allocate scarce educational opportunities in a manner that is consistent with democratic values” </li></ul><ul><li>Our assumptions about merit hinge on decisions we have made about what the measuring stick should be </li></ul><ul><li>As Amartya Sen points out, merit is an incentive system used to reward those actions that society has reason to value </li></ul>Source: Guinier, Lani. 2003. “Admissions Rituals as Political Acts: Guardians at the Gate of our Democratic Ideals.” Harvard Law Review . 113.
  43. 43. Democratic Merit <ul><li>The U.S. Supreme Court has identified the objectives of public education as “the inculcation of fundamental values necessary for the maintenance of a democratic political system” </li></ul><ul><li>Preparing students for citizenship has been a stated goal of American education throughout history </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Instill fundamental values and transmit knowledge necessary to partake in our democracy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In 2002, the Supreme Court in Grutter acknowledged the importance of preparing students for citizenship </li></ul></ul>
  44. 44. Democratic Merit <ul><li>Non-traditional measures of merit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify “strivers” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>These students exceed expectations given the quality of their high school and their socioeconomic status </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Strivers should be considered in light of their peers at the same or similar schools </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They may perform better in college than their academic record indicates </li></ul></ul></ul>
  45. 45. Democratic Merit <ul><li>Non-traditional measures of merit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Diversity capital </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This refers to the unique interests, life experiences, and/or family backgrounds that students possess that enrich the academic atmosphere </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Students who possess diversity capital create the opportunity to engage a variety of perspectives, thus creating a dynamic learning atmosphere </li></ul></ul></ul>
  46. 46. Democratic Merit <ul><li>Non-traditional measures of merit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create an assessment tool that measures: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Academic preparation and potential </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural competence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Other competencies related to success in college and democratic participation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The assessment tool should be institution-specific, non-standardized, and free of bias </li></ul></ul>
  47. 47. Democratic Merit <ul><li>Aligning Missions and Admissions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Institutions should consider what they hope to accomplish in society and admit students who will help make those goals a reality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Institutions need to discern what they truly value: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Strong test scores, or a strong democracy? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Extensive extracurricular activities, or investments in the wellbeing of a community? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  48. 48. Democratic Merit <ul><li>“ At selective institutions of higher education, admissions decisions have a special political impact: rationing access to societal influence and power, and training leaders for public office and public life. Those admitted as students then graduate to become citizens who shape business, education, the arts, and the law for the next generation. Admissions decisions affect the individuals who apply, the institutional environments that greet those who enroll, and the stability and legitimacy of our democracy.” </li></ul>Source: Guinier, Lani. 2003. “Admissions Rituals as Political Acts: Guardians at the Gate of our Democratic Ideals.” Harvard Law Review . 113.
  49. 49. Moving Forward
  50. 50. Moving Forward <ul><li>A new conception of race needs to emerge </li></ul><ul><li>The conversation about race needs to move forward in different direction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There is a need for a “racially literate conversation about the social purposes that universities fulfill.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Democratic merit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It invests in democratic potential </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It shifts the focus away from a standardized test-based view of higher education admissions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It aligns well with the broader goals of education </li></ul></ul></ul>Source: Guinier, Lani. 2003. “Admissions Rituals as Political Acts: Guardians at the Gate of our Democratic Ideals.” Harvard Law Review . 113.
  51. 51. Moving Forward <ul><li>Universities need to do more about the achievement gap, the environmental gap that isolates Whites from students of color, and the teaching and learning gaps of professors </li></ul><ul><li>Coalitions need to be built between working-class and poor Whites who would benefit from acknowledging that they too are underrepresented on college campuses </li></ul>
  52. 52. Achieving Transformative Change <ul><li>Transformative change in the racial paradigm in the U.S. requires substantive efforts in three areas: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Acting : Linking these understandings to the way that we act on race and how we arrange our institutions and policies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Talking : Understanding how language and messages shape reality and the perception of reality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thinking : Understanding how framing and priming impact information processing in both the explicit and the implicit mind </li></ul></ul>
  53. 53. Moving Forward <ul><li>Whether in a laboratory or a democracy, diversity benefits everyone </li></ul>
  54. 54.
  55. 55. Links <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>