Visiting America, I liked the picture with this article about the wonderfully named Hamtramck, part of Detroit. It shows all the ironies of the word ‘diversity’ as used in a political sense.
Indeed, my current pet hate word is ‘diversity’. Diversity. Diversity. Diversity. It drives me mad. Whatever happened to excellence? To success? And to achievements? In other words, to all humans of any sex, race, creed or identity? To hopes and dreams and aspirations? The article’s headline highlights the madness: Diverse Group Gathers In Hamtramck To Condemn ISIS: ‘They Are Not Muslims’
A quick glance shows that the participants are, in fact, extremely undiverse. For starters, they are missing 50 per cent of the population, viz: women. I very much doubt if there are any gays or transgender people in the group, and neither are there any children. Not a lot of whites (if any), no Chinese, and I wonder where the Buddhists mentioned are. Not a lot of saffron robes in evidence. I have no issue with what they are gathering for, and good for them, but don’t wrap it up in diversity.
And here we go again. This is a quote from another article about Hamtramck: ‘The program, Meyer said, is important for Hamtramck because it’s one of the most diverse communities in southeast Michigan. The city has a large number of Bangladeshi, Yemeni, African-American and Muslim residents, he said.’
In fact Hamtramck, USA, is the exact opposite of diverse. It is a majority Muslim town. Bangladeshis and Yemenis are a subgroup within the bigger group heading of Muslims. That sounds like ‘fake’ diversity to me. What the speaker actually means is that it is all non-white.
And this is always what it means. Diversity is everyone except white people. I am actually not sure where the 1.5billion Han Chinese fit into the scheme of things because they are rarely mentioned. They really are a true minority in the West and practically a mono-culture within China.
I remember the 1980s managerial book called In Search of Excellence. We have forgotten excellence now – it is almost never mentioned. And what about efficiency and effectiveness? What about being an economic powerhouse? As I say to people, you cannot eat diversity. Diversity doesn’t supply the electricity. Diversity will not get you a job.
I was on a hustings with Brandon Lewis, now chair of the Conservative Party. He had written a report about the fire service. Little did it say about the demoralisation of fire personnel (I deliberately will not use the word firemen) but it talked about how bad it was that most fire people are male and white and that it was very important to get ‘diversity’.
Mr Lewis said: ‘Our workforce must better represent the communities it serves. I expect services to find solutions to the current lack of diversity so clearly highlighted in the statistics we published last year, with just 4 per cent of the workforce from an ethnic minority background and just 5 per cent female. We can, and must, do better.’
Why, Mr Lewis?
As I said to him: ‘I would make a terrible fireman, being 5ft 2in tall and weighing 45kg, and you would be an awful ballet dancer.’ If a building is burning down, I want some tall, strong man to carry me out. I don’t care if he is gay, black, white or whatever.
Whatever happened to efficiency and economy? Diversity can bring neither of those things in the fire service or elsewhere in society. No wonder firemen, like prison officers, are thoroughly fed up and are retiring in droves.