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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Why diversity for diversity's sake makes little sense

This is what happens when diversity for diversity's sake becomes the goal:

White House defends its record of women in leadership positions

President Barack Obama has put together one of the most diverse staffs in the history of the White House, in addition to having the most diverse group of voters in history, by a mile. Yet, when some of the folks who represent diversity leave some of the positions and are replaced by white men, this type of conversation rears its head.

The goal should not be diversity for diversity's sake. The goal should be in finding the right people for the right positions so the entire country can benefit. The goal of diversity, when done well, is to make sure that gender, race, sexual orientation and other such labels don't shut the door on qualified people from groups that have historically been left out or behind.

When there is evidence that that's not happening, that's the time to scream and complain. But when there is evidence that process is in place - that qualified people of all colors and both genders are identified and given serious consideration - then there's nothing to complain about - even if for a short while most of the high-profile positions go to all white men, or all white women or all black men, or whatever group.

The push for diversity shouldn't be about making sure a photo looks a certain way; it must be about making sure the best people are in the right positions. Period.

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