Diversity Is Not a Moral Value: Thinking Clearly about What Diversity Is Good For
Very often advocates for diversity in organizations or education begin with the assumption that it is a good thing; but good for what? “Diversity” per se is ambiguous and morally neutral. In higher education it is relatively easy to get a “pretty” student body...that self-segregates. Doing something with this plurality of people requires being intentional about what we want them to do. In government, the implicit aim seems to be better representation - but what does that entail? In business the aim seems to be to connect better with “diverse” markets and suppliers, but that is an argument for hiring on the basis of market analyses. I explain the difference between inherent and instrumental values and offer an exercise to identify the inherent values behind our desire for diversity - the foundation necessary for effective advocacy and implementation of diversity initiatives.
Keywords: Moral Values, Ethics, Instrumental Value, Inherent Value, Education, Government, Business
Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Philosophy Department, University of the Pacific
Dr. Linda Thomas
Program Developer/Professor, Center for Professional and Continuing Education, University of the Pacific