Annual Essays

The New Year Essay of 2017: The Diversity Hoax


The Diversity Hoax

Human beings are a varied species. They come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. They don’t all fall prone to the same diseases at the same rate. As part of my orthodontic workups, I take x-rays of patient skulls and analyze the positions and angles of bones and teeth. I see physical human diversity in humans every day.

Most of the time these physical differences are not a significant factor in employment, but sometimes they are. For obvious reasons, you do not expect to see many humans with dwarfism playing professional basketball!

diversity article

Even within a homogenous subset of humans, there are significant physical differences between the sexes. On average, the males of any population subgroup possess significantly more physical strength. It is therefore natural that in occupations that require physical strength, males predominate. How many females have qualified to be Navy Seals?

But what about occupations that are not dependent upon physical attributes like height or strength? As far as I can remember, the number of women teaching kindergarten eclipse the number of male teachers. Conversely, males outnumber females by a large margin in auto repair. Few females want to get grease and grime under their nails. Should society be concerned about this disparity?

The problem goes further than merely gender, into ethnicity. Visit any nail shop, and it will likely be staffed by Vietnamese immigrants. Can they do manicures and pedicures better than other humans? I don’t see any reason why they should be able to. Why the occupational preference in this population group? Who can say?

Imbalances in employment didn’t used to bother us humans at all. Now, however, lately we suffer angst when we see disparate employment by subgroups of the population. To some people, it would seem “fair and just” to have every population subgroup proportionally represented in every occupation. Recently the engine of a Southwest Airlines plane exploded in flight. It was gleefully reported that the pilot who skillfully landed the crippled plane was female.  Were the passengers better off than if a male pilot had landed the plane safely? Apparently many people believed so.

A well-intentioned person believed he was giving me useful information in an online forum.  “You know that companies that embrace diversity in their workforce are more profitable,” quoth this supposed expert, who had never owned a business himself.  I challenged him as I usually do other purveyors of political correctness, “Show me a peer-reviewed business journal with statistics that backs your claim up!”  I never did receive a reference.

My full-time employees happen to be all Caucasian although my wife has 1/8 Mongol blood, by virtue of Mayan Indian ancestry. I have a part-time assistant who is Black, and a part-time janitor who is from Mexico, and thus part Mongol.

My first assistant, whom I trained on the job, was a Vietnamese immigrant. At various times, I have had a Costa Rican assistant, a Korean hygienist, a receptionist who was a Mexican immigrant, another who was Puerto Rican and an office manager who was Black. At no time when I had this much-vaunted diversity did my office revenues or profit margins go up. In fact, the last mentioned receptionist nearly bankrupted my practice because of her embezzlement.

One thing for certain: my business had more Vietnamese patients when I had the Vietnamese assistant. But it wasn’t because of any magic in diversity, it was just because she could speak their language and had a lot of Vietnamese family friends she referred to the practice.

I treated a lot of Hispanic patients before marrying and employing my Salvadoran wife- because I speak Spanish fluently. Hispanic patients don’t care if I am from Mexico or  the USA or even from Timbuktu. What is important is to speak their language.

“Diversity” has lately become the Holy Grail of political correctness. A friend lives in Cedar Rapids Iowa. The population there consists of the descendents of Germans and Czechs. The Cedar Rapids City Council actually felt so guilty about their lack of racial diversity that they discussed assisting “people of color” to move there. The thought is that was if they did not have sufficient “diversity”  in their city, it was as serious as lacking a public swimming pool or central park. The quality of life was somehow supposed to suffer for their residents.

Believe it or not, the Apple Corporation now has a Director of Diversity. When hired, she almost immediately misspoke in a press interview and had to apologize. Why? She mouthed the following axiomatic observation: “I could have 12 blue-eyed, blond-haired males at the table, and every one of them would bring something different to the discussion, based on their lives’ experiences.” That this obvious truth needs to be apologized for is an indictment of our current political climate.

But now, demand for diversity has gone beyond race and gender. It is claimed beneficial to have different religions, different sexual preferences, and different who-knows-whats in the workplace. Employers are supposed to be just as worried about proper diversity as whether the workers actually can perform their jobs properly.

In this tight labor market, it is not easy to get qualified workers who do their jobs well. Employees who will show up on time, leave their cell phones alone, and stay off illegal drugs are in short supply. We business owners don’t have time to worry about whether they are the “right” race, religion ethnicity, sexual preference, or who knows what else.


How Did The Mandate to Diversify Come About?

Thinking about where this weird Diversity Religion came from, it must have been from the usual Promoters of Ridiculous Beliefs- none other than our public education system. Even back in the late 1980s, Fulton County Board of Education had a “Minority to Majority” (M to M) student transfer program. At the time, I had a Black middle school patient who lived around Old National Highway of South Fulton County. One day I asked him where he attended school. He named a middle school at the north end of Fulton County, at least a 1 hour drive in morning traffic. It turns out Fulton County was recruiting black students from South Fulton to commute to that mostly-white school, for the sole purpose of increasing diversity. Of course, white students in wealthy northern suburbs were offered the equivalent option of attending a school in South Fulton County, but almost no kids wanted that opportunity. My patient was provided a private bus and driver (!) every day to take him on the long commute across town.

Apparently, even though public school systems always claim to be short of operating funds, they have money enough to waste providing chauffeurs to students for the shibboleth of “advancing diversity.”

Does racial or religious diversity, or any other type of diversity for that matter, further human achievement? It is instructive to survey economic progress in the world.

For much of history, the Chinese were ahead of our European ancestors in many fields, including weaving and porcelain making. There was little ethnic diversity in ancient China, although there was some religious diversity. The Germans became famous for their engineering achievements, at a time when Germany was totally Caucasian. When we baby boomers were growing up, the Japanese were famous for their miniaturization and perfection of mass production techniques, especially in electronics. Yet at the time there was probably no nation on earth less ethnically or religiously diverse than Japan.

One could even argue that in modern society, excessive diversity is a hindrance to achievement. Human beings being what they are, they tend to congregate and collaborate with people most like them. Unfortunately, people sometimes stigmatize and isolate people with diametrically opposed beliefs. This tendencies do not tend to facilitate cooperation on complex projects.

The Type of Diversity That is Really Essentialhuman diversity essentials business

It doesn’t matter whether workers are ethnically, sexually, or religiously diverse. However, any organization needs diverse personality types to function successfully. These include:

  • The Visionaries- This individual can imagine useful things that don’t exist yet. Steve Jobs was the quintessential example.
  • The Implementors- These are the engineers who figure out how the visions can be made reality.
  • The Peacemakers- These are the team-builders who coordinate and motivate groups of humans toward a common goal.
  • The Salesmen-These are the mouthpieces of the organization that will promote its innovations to the public.

Any organization without ALL these personality types in some proportion will not get very far!

Achieving Diversity is a Waste of Resources

The procurement of skilled and reliable labor is a difficult task. At this point in time, the labor market is very tight, with unemployment well below 5%. Employers are not apt to discriminate against qualified applicants, because in many instances there is a shortage of qualified applicants. Worrying about what sex, race, religion, or sexual orientation a company’s new hires will be is just a waste of time. You may get a warm fuzzy feeling for being politically correct. But like buying and driving an electric car, it will make little difference in the outcome of things.

Humans comprise a diverse species. A fact of life is that humans who share common characteristics like to socialize together. This creates distinct sub-group housing patterns, and it should not surprise us when diverse human interests create uneven subgroup distribution in employment. Our focus should be on real barriers that prevent entrance into occupations, and not preoccupation with equal distribution of subgroups in workforce employment. After all, it is the job performance that counts in the occupation, and not the sexual, racial, ethnic, or religious identity.

Hoping you and your family have a Happy New Year, with a diversity of fun!

Kim Henry

December 31, 2017


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