Versions of Diversity – Stuart Buck links to an intersting story about a man who is “by birth, African-Lebanese,” who “[i]n the American shorthand, some might refer to … as a black man,” but who was denied a position at Loyola College in Baltimore because, he says was told by the vice president in charge of hiring, the college needed to hire someone who was more visibly black.
This raises the interesting question of whether there is or can be a difference between diversity and the appearance of diversity. Assume for a moment (but only for a moment) that diversity is upheld by the Supremes as a legitimate justification for racial preferences in university admissions and hiring. Would the “not black enough” standard then also be justified? Could a wholly American black who lost out to a blacker American black claim discrimination? Conversely, could an admissions or hiring committee reject a black in favor of a lighter-skinned black if the latter were deemed to be underrepresented?
If, as the racial essentialists claim, all blacks are the same, then those passed over because they are too dark or too light would seem to have a good discrimination claim, since they are “as black” as those of the more favored shade. But if all blacks are not the same, as those of us who reject racial essentialism maintain, then what is the justification for race-based diversity in the first place?
If we are to continue giving racial preferences at some point we will be forced to define race and perhaps even require official racial identity on drivers licenses, social security cards, etc.
So, let’s don’t.