Diversity, amongst those committed to egalitarianism and social justice, refers to the acceptance, appreciation and celebration of differences between people and cultural groups. It acknowledges all the ways people and cultures can differ from each other, and does not presuppose some underlying sameness. Instead, people and cultural groups are radically individual, although they may share common political interests stemming from similar forms of discrimination and oppression, though even then, the marginalization cannot be equated perfectly because every person and every cultural group is situated differently within the socio-cultural matrix.
However, there is another common usage of the word diversity, more common in the business and investing communities, and refers to diversifying investments, such as mutual funds to ensure a stable and profitable investment portfolio. Indeed, investors know, and it is common sense, that putting all our eggs in one basket is risky business, for with one failed risk, all investments are nullified. Diversifying investments ensures that is something happens to one investment, the investment package as a whole may still do very well over the long term.
How does diversifying investments relate to the diversity espoused by social justice warriors? It is common parlance that children are investments in our future, and although that rhetoric has not gone unchallenged, there is widespread agreement that, while children still need to be able to be children, that education and proper socialization should prepare children for bright futures. Indeed, one of the markers of a well educated person is that they chart their own course in life, and are capable of reflecting on social and political issues, amongst other important topics in adult life, and forming a well reasoned personal opinion. The ability to interpret the mixed messages our media ambushes us with every day is a crucial step towards properly forming an individual opinion. Without strong personal integrity and strong reasoning abilities, individuals may succumb to the influence of media moguls and partisan think tanks. With the ability of professional politicians to speak skillfully speak the language of the targeted demographic, individuals have never been in more need for tools and skills for interpreting communications. We saw in the most recent presidential election how divided the United States is, and how individuals adamantly clung to the rhetoric of their pet political party. It is really worth wondering if many of these individuals thought clearly about their political options, or whether they were caught in a political vortex, filled with calculated rhetoric and nasty, slanderous statements about their opponent. Were these political party adherents there because, through reflection on their political beliefs, decided that that was the best choice for themselves, their family, their community, their state, their nation, and the globe?
When so many people are capable of being manipulated by media and succumbing to the rhetoric of oppositional political figures, which only serves to further radicalize political beliefs, isn’t education, the ability to reflect and come to an individual decision, absolutely crucial? Education for democracy is absolutely imperative for the well being of any voting public. My point, going back to diversification, is that through the inclusion of GSA, and the promoting of diversity within schools, education for democracy gets a early foothold in the school system, which will enable students to reflect on political and social issues in their own schools. Not everyone will agree, and that is ok, as long as we are capable of having open, honest conversations, with integrity, about the social and political issues which face us all, and which face some people more than others. By promoting and protecting diversity in schools, we are diversifying our investing in students, which, with proper guidance, can ensure democratic debate and ethical participation in public life. In the end, if we are all different, political figures will have a more difficult time swaying the masses; if individuals are education in democratic thought process and capable of personal reflection, influencing whole demographics of people will become much more difficult, and politicians will be forced to discuss the issues more than their opponents history or hair cut.