• Conversations generally go better when people don’t try to put words into the other’s mouth. I said what I said; stop assuming what I believe from what I didn’t say.
  • I don’t know who this “Seth Grossman” is other than the original quote from him that I responded to, part of which was bonkers, an assessment that you seemed to agree with, although you gave him a pass by calling it a “misquote”.
  • From that, I assume that you know more about this “Seth Grossman” than I do. Fine. I can’t further comment on anything other than what he said.

But, since you insist on imputing meaning where none is intended, let’s throw down:

First, it is utter nonsense to propose a “core concept of diversity” as used here or in Grossman’s statement “stripped of all its political undertones.”

Opinion stated as fact. I disagree.

Indeed, as used in today’s vernacular, the core concept of “diversity” is entirely political. “I think that is so obvious it should [not] need” to be stated.

I agree that the term is being used almost exclusively today as a political cudgel. Regrettably. However, that does not negate the reality there’s an underlying question (regarding diversity’s relative value) which is not answerable by political science, but by apolitical sociology/psychology.

You can’t slice diversity fine enough to actually identify all of the different life experiences that will create a “different background[]” or “different perspective[].”

Hmmm. Why would I need to? Again, if I’m interested in marketing a product to a particular ethnicity, it’s blatantly obvious that input from that ethnicity would be valuable.

People living in one community, though homogeneous in terms of race and even age, will have different experiences and different backgrounds. Siblings growing up in the same house with the same parents will have different backgrounds and different perspectives. Childreen who knew their grandparents will have different backgrounds and perspectives than children that did not. Different regions, different weather, different population concentrations, etcetera, ad nauseum.

Obviously.

So the notion that some diversity markers, such as race, sex, gender orientation (in all of its alleged vastness), etcetera are the diversity markers that overcome all of the other background experience-driven perspectives is utter nonsense.

Hmmmm. You seem to be saying that some diversity markers bring little to no value to group decisions, while other diversity markers do.

If that’s what you’re saying, it’s undeniably true. The larger question is (a) which markers have value, (b) which do not, and (c ) does the relative value of markers change depending on the problem to be addressed?

And there is no end to the possibilities for creating new “protected classifications.” How long before California enacts a law mandating that a “trans” person be appointed to the board of directors of corporations, because, of course, the value of having people from different backgrounds with different perspectives “shouldn’t need defense.” Yes it does! Defend it!

I previously agreed with you that diversity is, in and of itself, not a goal nor a virtue. That said, all of our corporations these days are using deep analytics to break down their customers demographically to try and figure out where they are selling successfully and where they are not.

And where they are not, they are trying to figure out why. And they are relying on people who are in those demographic groups to help them.

(I work on this shit every day.)

So, let’s look at two different types of diversity:

ONE. California enacts a law mandating diversity in corporate boardrooms.

TWO. A corporation enacts diversity-hiring policies to insure that product development is addressing all major demographic subgroups when building new products.

ONE is political bullshit. TWO is smart business.

To my mind, I have adequately addressed the nonsense of trying to use specified diversity markers as somehow a measure of personal value to a company. Your investment portfolio analogy is so flawed as to be laughable.

Feel free to laugh. I believe it to be rationally apropos.

Clearly, though, you have to go here to demonstrate value in diversity, because there simply is no data whatsoever to show, for example, that a group of engineers is more successful if half of them are female. There just isn’t.

Granted. But again, my position distinguishes between diversity for the sake of diversity (bad) compared to diversity for a purpose (good); hence, the example in product development or marketing.

Sorry, but that’s just not how we evaluate or treat people.

Actually, it IS how we treat people. You underperform, you lose your job.

There are objective criteria for choosing one security over another, the most important of which is past performance in a solitary objective, making money. You can’t seriously believe you can quantify all of possible background experiences of a person (irrespective of race, sex, gender orientation) as a measure of how well they will contribute to a work group.

I don’t have to. All I need to do, as a corporate manager, is to understand that CERTAIN characteristics are of value to me, and focus on those. I don’t have to care about any others.

Otherwise, explain to me if you can how you would choose one race over another for reasons comparable to choosing an equity over a bond. I could explain why someone might choose a bond over an equity.

Certainly:

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% of sales ought to be 13%/2%/15%/70%, based on percent of population. If I’m the Chief Marketing Officer, I am all over that shit; the African-American demographic is a growth opportunity for me. I am beating the shit out of my own marketing team, my ad agency, marketing communications, and public relations to explain it to me. I am bending the ear of the product development team to explain this to me, and what they intend to do about it.

Can you explain why, for example, someone hiring an employee might wish to prefer to infuse his or her “work group” with, for example, a Native American over an African American? It doesn’t work the same and shame on you suggesting that it does.

Just did. If you want to solve the above problem with a roomful of white guys from upper middle class backgrounds, good luck to you. There is obviously something they’re missing.

(And this is not an unusual problem, it should be said. Sales discrepancies exist in a lot of niches, between income demographics, gender demographics, racial demographics, religious demographics…..you name it. I’ve worked the analytics on TONS of them.)

However, let me close with this: You don’t have to disagree with the above example to be a critic of “diversity” in the political sense. This is very “broad brush” diversity we’re talking about. No CMO is going to care that they’re not selling to the transgendered community, for example, because it’s too damn small to care about. (I have been asked to do these sorts of breakdowns for the gay community, however. And yes, the corporation went out and recruited an experienced product manager who was gay, so they could address the problem. )

Now, unless you can teach me best practices on configuring Kibana with Elasticsearch in a Kubernetes cluster, I gotta get to work. :-)

Written by

Data Driven Econophile. Muslim, USA born. Been “woke” 2x: 1st, when I realized the world isn’t fair; 2nd, when I realized the “woke” people are full of shit.

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