Diversity is another of those words we imbue with all nobility and goodness without question or reservation. And that's nonsense. If diversity were always and everywhere good we would be clamoring for more midgets in the NBA. We would demand that mobsters get jobs at the FBI and we would consider it a grave problem that not enough blind men — and women! — were applying to be crossing guards, snipers, and surgeons.
Indeed, if diversity were always a boon to the educational process, we would decry the ghettos of backwardness we call all-women's colleges and historically black universities. After all, are not blacks and women in the most need of educational support? Lee Bollinger, the former president of the University of Michigan (and current president of Columbia University) recently declared:
Diversity is not merely a desirable addition to a well-run education. It is as essential as the study of the Middle Ages, of international politics and of Shakespeare. For our students to better understand the diverse country and world they inhabit, they must be immersed in a campus culture that allows them to study with, argue with and become friends with students who may be different from them. It broadens the mind and the intellect — essential goals of education.
Well, if it's an essential goal of education, let's diversify Morehouse College right now before one more black kid is forced to study without the benefit of experiencing the glories of sharing a dorm with a few Asian and white kids. And since it's an established fact that blacks are more educationally disadvantaged than most, doesn't that mean that integrating black schools is even more of an imperative than getting a few more African Americans at Harvard?
Many of our greatest scientists, statesmen, soldiers, and artists attended remarkably un-diverse institutions. Indeed, many of our greatest black leaders attended all black, and often all black male, institutions of higher learning. And yet, if I were to say that a black man can't be properly educated unless some of whitey rubs off on him, I'd get in a lot of trouble.
But that's the diversity argument in a nutshell.