Opinion | Civil Rights

How the left's brand of diversity promotes division

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A new Office for Diversity and Inclusion is about to open in the House of Representatives - the latest sign that identity politics continue their long march through the institutions. Last month, in yet another example, West Point cancelled classes for a day so cadets could discuss "diversity and inclusion" and be lectured on "toxic masculinity." 

And just to make it clear where this all leads, during a primary debate in New Hampshire last week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called for "race-conscious laws."

These seemingly discrete events are part of a pattern. "Diversity" may be outwardly sold as the hope that America, always a diverse country, can afford equal opportunities to all its citizens. It is the opposite of this color-blind promise, however; it mandates numerical proportionalism at schools and places of employment and, yes, make no mistake, eventually laws that take account of a person's race.

Proponents of this destructive mix successfully preclude any criticism by accusing any who dare raise objections of being racist. This tactic works wonders, especially on elected officials of both parties, rendering them both deaf and mute on these issues.

Those who understand the danger should be completely undeterred by this tactic, however. The people who propose race-conscious practices are obviously the ones who make decisions based on race. We should not accept their proposals, their premises or even their language.

If we are to have any chance of making it as a diverse nation, we must demand that people be selected because of their talent, not because of their race, origin, sex or sexual orientation, and that they be legally treated according to their adherence to the law.

America has been here before, and the experiment was shameful. The hope of the 1865-1877 Reconstruction era ended completely in 1896 with Plessy v. Ferguson and the imposition of "separate but equal" Jim Crow. Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 and The Civil Rights Act in 1964 ended the Plessy era and gave hope of finally attaining color-blind laws and practices. But that victory, too, was quickly reversed. 

As I describe in my upcoming book, "The Plot to Change America, How Identity Politics is Dividing the Land of the Free," the white establishment, led by the very wealthy Ford Foundation, panicked when Northern and Western cities reacted to the civil rights era with riots. So they began to put in place what they said would be temporary race-conscious procedures, which they hoped would buy peace.

Half a century later, we know they have not been temporary but are becoming ever more entrenched in the nation's highest places. It doesn't get much higher than West Point and the House of Representatives.

West Point brought in a consultant to speak to the entire corps of cadets, the staff and faculty. The "bias training" of these consultants has already become the bane of the corporate world. Now, worryingly, they have arrived at the military academy.

According to the Army, the "conversations" held at West Point "included redefining what a healthy role model looks like once they took a critical perspective toward toxic masculinity that is prevalent in mainstream society."

As for the new office in the House of Representatives, sources tell me it is about to open its doors. The House resolution creating the office notes that within 90 days of presenting an operational plan, the office will submit a "diversity plan" to the Committee on House Administration which "shall include": 

"(A) Policies to direct and guide House employing offices to recruit, hire, train, develop, advance, promote, and retain a diverse workforce, consistent with applicable House rules, regulations, and law. 

(B) The development of a survey, in consultation with the Committee on House Administration, to evaluate diversity in House employing offices."

If this effort means that all Americans, no matter their background, will hear about employment opportunities in Congress, it will be a worthwhile project. It is difficult to see, however, how this does not turn into numerical hiring quotas. 

Which brings us to Sen. Warren letting the cat out of the bag when she said in Manchester, "We need race-conscious laws in education, in employment, in entrepreneurship to make this country a country for everyone."

Even candidate-businessman Andrew Yang realized where this potentially leads when he responded, "Elizabeth, with respect, we can't regulate away racism with a whole patchwork of laws that are race specific."

But that is precisely what people say they can do, and once they pass these race-specific laws, we will all be back to the Plessy Era. Unless we stop them.

Mike Gonzalez, the Angeles T. Arredondo E Pluribus Unum Senior Fellow at The Heritage Foundation (heritage.org), is the author of "A Race for the Future" (Crown Forum, 2014).

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