Liberals who think all Republicans are against diversity are just wrong. As writer billsnyder93 at the Cornell Insider points out below, political correctness and an automatic assumption that all cultures are equally “good” is often the issue.
At the weekly Student Assembly meeting this afternoon, the student members voted on a new diversity initiative known as the “Diversity Plan.” This initiative basically suggests that the Student Assembly should take more pro-active steps in incorporating diversity into their policies. As such, the tangible outcomes of this plan would likely result in more diversity discussions and resources on campus, initiated through S.A.
As a republican, one might think that I, as well as my colleagues, must instantly hate this plan because obviously conservatives detest diversity. But then you would be surprised to hear that I think this initiative is not only within the Student Assembly’s right to pass, but also a potential promising initiative. Diversity, if treated properly, is a great benefit to society. What worries me is how simplistic this plan is likely to be implemented. The problem that many conservatives have with “diversity issues” is that it tends to be a politically correct statement in which democrats assert that all cultures and perspectives are equal in every way and should be treated the same. This political correctness is an absolutely counter-productive evaluation of diversity.
The point of studying diversity is to not only learn about other perspectives, both also to critically evaluate them. This statement tends to offend people, but lets think about this. There are two perspectives when considering diversity, one is a general, academic understanding and the other is a pragmatic evaluation. From an academic standpoint, students should understand diversity, meaning understanding differences in culture and perspective as well as the consequences of these differences. The second part is crucial and often forgotten. People should not expect different perspectives that promote different values to expect the same results. This doesn’t say that society should place a normative claim on this understanding, or in other words, say whether different culture/perspective are good or bad. Instead, we must understand how they work together simultaneously.
The pragmatic evaluation is the second view, and the most important. The reason society considers diversity important is because it provides useful information. I want to learn about other perspectives and understand how they operate such that I can absorb the advantages of different cultures into my own society. This is how society, in part, improves itself. By accepting advantageous cultural aspects, a society can improve itself. However, the converse must also be true, and this is the most controversial aspect of this opinion. If cultures have positives they must also have negatives. Society shouldn’t accept negative aspects of cultures when evaluating diversity, we should be critical of them. We should reject those aspects from our society and accept the fact that if a culture chooses to promote negative diversity, that they should expect negative outcomes.
In regards to Student Assembly, based on the meeting, I don’t think this plan has properly evaluated diversity. The members have not explicitly defined diversity, which makes it hard to tell whether or not this plan has potential. But if I had to guess, I would say the assembly will err on the side of safety and take a non-provocative stance on diversity, which will do little benefit to the University and waste people’s resources.
However, this plan could be the beginning of actual intellectual debate regarding the benefits of diversity, and thus provide useful knowledge to Cornell students as well as more beneficial legislation from the Student Assembly. My hope is the Student Assembly will take the more inspiring approach that will leave the Cornell Community in a more substantive “diverse” environment.