Ms. Ali has written a new column for the Harvard Crimson on diversity and what it has become.

The Liberal Diversity Dilemma

Diversity. It is a principle that today’s society values greatly—a sign of virtue, moral progress, and greater social inclusivity. Politicians, corporations, media outlets, and especially universities like Harvard pursue diversity by trying to attract and retain professors, students, administrators, and workers from every race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, and faith.
This endeavor to achieve perfect diversity started out with good intentions: Women, blacks, and gays in this country were the victims of vicious discrimination for centuries. It was a liberal project derived from the most basic of liberal principles: the rights and freedoms of the individual to choose his or her own destiny.

Since the country’s founding, America has fought to make this utopian vision, enshrined in the Constitution, a reality. And Americans rose to the challenge: a civil war was fought to abolish slavery; a suffrage movement expanded voting rights; a civil rights movement ended segregation, if not racism. We have it hardwired in us to seek out injustice, expose it, and defend the rights of its victims. We have corrected some injustices through legislation and education. We are still working to address others.

Yet somehow we have got so caught up in the pursuit of diversity that we have drifted away from the core of what it was all about, the core of liberalism: the individual.

Instead of struggling and campaigning for the freedoms and rights of the individual, some of us seem more focused on the freedoms and rights of the group.