Sun 8 Feb, 2009
|Tags: Class, Diversity, Gender, Race|
Columnist Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times writes today about the overwhelming domination of Wall Street by male executives.
I’m not sure that I agree with Kristof’s conclusion that what the global banking industry needed in order to avoid its current woes was “women, women and women.” However, he devotes most of the column to highlighting important research showing that in areas such as race, gender, and class, diversity improves the quality of group decision-making.
This research offers a distinct rationale for diversity in education and in the workplace, beyond questions of fairness to the individuals involved or other arguments about diversity which may not garner universal agreement.
This particular justification for diversity is also more palatable to many of those who are skeptical of affirmative action or multiculturalism, being focused on generating measurably superior outcomes for the entire institution or for society as a whole. Moreover, this approach defines diversity in a subversive manner: it assumes that diversity today means having different experiences and perspectives, while giving no credence to beliefs that there are fundamental differences between people on account of race, ethnicity, gender, or other superficial traits.