"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Monday, April 15, 2019

The Morality of Diversity

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, The Morality of Diversity

"Diversity is not an inherently moral property. I don't object to diversity. Of course, I can see why it can be useful and even beautiful, but I think our obsession with diversity is leading us down some unhelpful blind alleys of which perhaps the most troubling to me is a narrowing in the diversity of opinion...

‘Take for example, the news. What is it that could possibly be done to make the news more diverse? It's for everyone. It's, it's kind of neutral isn't it? It’s just the imparting of information’...

It's almost shaming. I mean, I understand there's an institutional panic about being male, pale and stale in every organization at the moment, but is there a danger then, a kind of almost like trying to use young and ethnic minorities to kind of liven up and give a kind of relevance to an organization? Assuming they've all the same, almost like if we have more BAME people in, they will make programs that will appeal to BAME people. I mean, it's patronizing..

‘Do you think being white has left you disadvantaged in this kind of society where people are in fact positively discriminated against?’

‘Um, well, I've, I was gonna write a piece for a well known newspaper and I got a reply saying the editor is looking for more diverse and younger points of view. And a little joke at the end. So give us a, give us a ring when you've had the sex change operation which I'm, so maybe I have been... I take great exception to the phrase pale, male and stale, that sort of ageist, sexist and racist in one phrase. And it's perfectly alright to say that. I don't think, so, maybe I have been discriminated against. I'll probably never know’...

‘You sound like the BBC Asian network. Oh, they're all the same. Only they're not all the same. Each person is an individual. You can't just go on about BAME’...

[On Asians not being represented on corporate boards] ‘If we talk about Asian people, they’re very often self employed, self starters. And they run their own thing. So I can say that from experience because I've seen them and I know them-’

‘These are pretty grim stereotypes you're coming up with here’

‘It’s not a grim stereotype. It's a compliment, and please don't call me mate.’

‘It's not acceptable is it to come up with those sorts of stereotypes?’

‘Why is it not acceptable? Tell me why it's acceptable?’

‘You’re pigeon holing people in a particular sort of way’

‘I'm complimenting people that I know, people that I grew up with, I grew up in Brent and I saw the effect, the beneficial effect of Asian businessmen opening shops. I think it's a really good thing. And, you call that a grim stereotype?’...

‘You need to get the best person for the job. And if you're systematically excluding half of the talent pool, you can't achieve that. So quotas aren't about giving an unfair advantage to women. They're about expanding talent pool to include the whole of society so that we are in fact recruiting on merit, which I don't believe is currently the case’

‘You'll know that many women feel very queasy about this, because they do feel as though it's patronizing to have a kind of, we're gonna help you up the ladder.’...

‘I think it's very patronizing to suggest that excluding women, which is the alternative is a superior option.’...

‘Would you exclude women from the workplace Claire? No, I'm not saying that. We’re talking about quotas, which say, for example, the BBC say, we've got to have... in 5 years’ time… 50% of all the experts have got to be women... they’re not the best person to go on to talk about that topic. Nobody feels that they want to be there because of their gender.’...

‘I wonder why there's this acute lack of embarrassment from the very many men who have been unfairly advantaged because of their gender over decades, centuries, millennia, but we've never said I'm only here because I'm a man’...

‘They are due to merit. They won't be there due to merit if it becomes an enforced diversity as an endpoint’...

‘My belief, quite firmly is that talent doesn't have a gender. It doesn't have a race. It doesn't have a class and yet, and yet success does. Success does have a race, it does have a gender, it does have a class. So why does talent not translate into success? And if it doesn't translate into success that suggests two things. First of all, that we are not rewarding merit. And secondly, that there are systematic barriers that are preventing some people from achieving their max, their full potential. So it’s barriers that I'm opposed’

‘Okay, so why do we need quotas, then we should remove the barriers?’

‘Quotas are to remove the barriers’...

‘Quite a lot of industries where there is not equality and diversity. I mean, I've been looking at the sewage industry recently. It's not like a huge number of women involved in it. And the street cleaning profession is kind of not over abundantly got women. There haven't been very many campaigns, when I see you're involved in campaigns, in getting women on boards of big companies, but what about these jobs? Should women be equally represented?’

‘If you're familiar with my research as you claim to be, then you'll know that I'm very much in favor of breaking down gender stereotypes in both directions.’

‘And so you think we should have campaigns around that because there aren't very many are there?’

‘There are some and the whole point is that we shouldn't be saying certain careers for men and certain careers or for women, we should be saying people should do as their talent’...

‘What about for example, I don't know the homeless? What about the mentally ill? What about, you'll be familiar, nevermind class, which is often ignored. There's not very many working class people on boards of FTSE 500 boards either. So what I'm saying is, is that is there a danger of getting trapped into just wanting privilege for women say’

‘Well, I think one of the many critiques of identity politics is that it wants to break everybody down into categories that someone is labeled this, that or the other and has to be treated according to that label. I actually don't stand in favour of that. What I stand in favor of is treating each person on their individual capacity and merits without preconceptions about what their social status in life determines them to be. And so if we are genuinely rewarding people for their own skills, and talents, then we don't have to have these notions that we have to have X percent this group and X percent that group because it will happen naturally.’...

‘Let's take gender balance in politics. And in Parliament. It's been tried on something called the European Statutory Instruments Committee, which is the first ever gender balanced committee in Parliament. What is it about having half women, half men that makes that committee better than any other when it comes to scrutinizing Brexit?’...

‘Gender when it comes to parties isn't a terribly good metric for diversity is it because, for instance, the fact that half of them are women doesn't say anything about the regions they represent, or as you mentioned yourself class and their wealth’

‘I refuse to accept that gender is at the expense of other forms of diversity, I think they should be complimentary.’...

‘One thing people were shocked by was that everyone on the committee is white… that is about the identity of the people on the committee. What about their opinions? Because the other thing that shocked people was that out of the 16 people on the committee, only 2 backed Brexit’...

Meritocracy has become a dirty word. And I think that's a direct result of what I called a diversity dictatorship. I don't have a problem with diversity in itself. But I think that the excesses of the ideology has been resulting in curtailment of creativity, freedom, and actually the idea of merit, full stop...

What do you propose to actually do about implicit bias that isn't sort of creepy Marxism… Naturally, there's nothing wrong with having a very diverse workplace. What there is something wrong about is decreeing that unless the workplace or the people coming, you know, getting the jobs tick these certain very restrictive categories of skin color, the workplace sucks, and it doesn't represent, and it's all this kind of stuff...

‘So what you're saying is, in a sense, look, it doesn't matter about these historical abuses. And this thing, racism it's gone on for decades and centuries because’

‘No, I’m a historian-’

‘Because, I mean, as long as we do it right now, it's okay. There's no sense of saying, okay, look, hang on. We have to take history into account when we're making these selections in the workplace now, and if it goes a bit overboard, by me, that would be okay.’

‘A bit overboard’s pretty sinister, actually, because it's not going a bit overboard. It's getting very overboard’

‘What, right now?’

‘I think so. I think what's happening is that these comments, for instance, about comedy not being funny, essentially, we can't have Oxbridge white guys doing comedy completely. It's interesting, because, yes, on the surface of it, the optics would be, you know, for all of our sensibilities that would be better if there was some skin color diversity there.

But what if they're actually the funniest people who happened to be, the job of that channel is to produce very, very funny people, so that people should keep an eye on that. What is your job, it's your job is to be the best doctor, I want the best doctor operating on me, I don't want the most diverse team of medical staff’...

I also felt Giles was trying to push him in a corner to get him to admit to being a racist which I don't believe he is... a lot of people feel that's what happens in public discourse nowadays and it's one reason why they end up either not speaking at all or bearing resentment and expressing it in far less healthy ways...

‘A lot of bad faith is brought to this debate. So the assumption is oh there's not enough women in that workplace or there's not enough people of disability in that workplace so everybody in there is discriminating against them. That's the assumption and then if you deny you’re obviously guilty of unconscious bias and they send you now on unconscious bias training by the way in lots of universities, you can imagine... we are in danger of lumping everybody together... Do you mean all women are the same? We have enough women they're all the same? All women do not share the same views or opinions or characteristic'


Apparently it's not acceptable for groups to differ

The doublethink is astounding

Good luck ticking all the boxes - once you fulfill the sex, race, class etc criteria, you'll be forced to take whoever is left regardless of merit

If we must take history into account, Britain should leave the EU because it's dominated by Germany and Germany 'started' two World Wars in 3 decades
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