Diversity of Thought
Today we hear a lot about diversity, which can be a noble goal to introduce different perspectives into all aspects of life. The main problem with diversity as we understand it today is that it only runs skin deep, literally, we seem to only focus in on the racial make up of people instead of how individuals view issues and solve problems. Our goals as a society shouldn’t be limited to racial diversity and we should be open minded enough to welcome a diversity of thought in the many arenas of life. There are many institutions in our society that applaud the idea of diversity but upon closer examination, they work diligently to remove the diversity of thought I am advocating for; here are just a few examples of these institutions: colleges, universities, K-12 schools, government, the media, non-profits and unions. With colleges and universities there are many examples where those who have more conservative perspectives are blocked from speaking on campus and those people willing to speak out have been verbally attacked, vandalized (in the case of signs of signs/messages) and even in rare cases there have been physical attacks. We must do more to get these institutions to recognize and remedy the lack of diversity of thought that exist within them, the first step is making the glaring lack of diversity of thought evident for all to see.
When it comes to schools, government and the media we the people must demand transparency as it pertains to diversity of thought in those institutions. Schools guide our children from a very young age all the way up through college, it is very important that we introduce to our children different perspectives and ideologies throughout their education. To allow a vast majority of teachers to be from one particular political ideology is nothing less than indoctrination. Government bureaucracy implements and interprets the laws that we all live under, they collect our taxes and spend our tax dollars…once again having only one political ideology vastly overrepresented in the government will result in a lack of understanding and perspective when it comes to those they disagree with. This can lead to biased enforcement of the rules/laws with harsher interpretation and punishment of those who disagree with the main government ideology. Finally, we have the media, why is it important we have diversity of thought in the media? It’s because the media informs us about our world, they choose which stories to cover and how to cover them. It is of the utmost importance that our media have a intellectually diverse thought process when covering the news, if everyone in a newsroom is like minded then there is no one to speak up to examine the other side of an issue…and we as the public get a very one-sided interpretation of the events which effect our lives, this is unacceptable.
So what can we do as citizens? How do we change the fact that these three institutions, that have a very large impact on our lives, appear to have a very biased and one-sided view of the world? First, we as citizens need to know in quantitative terms how liberal/conservative (or one-sided) these institutions actually are. We must demand that the media that we pay for tell us the political orientation of each individual reporter, editor and news anchor…so when we view/read a news story we know take that information with a grain of salt…so if a very liberal individual is reporting on a story then we know that the story will be a very liberal interpretation of that particlar event. On top of that we should demand to know the political make up of each newsroom and editorial board, if we can see that those making decisions with which topics/issues are covered and how they are covered then we can understand how much bias (if any) is coming from any particular news outlet. For example if a newsroom is 85% conservative and only 15% liberal we can see that news outlet as leaning pretty far to the right (and vice versa if the numbers were reversed). Once those quantitative numbers are laid bare for all to see then we can begin to demand a more even handed approach to the news and that these news outlets can begin make diversity of thought one of their goals…perhaps they could hire more individuals who might disagree with their political ideology. When it comes to government and schools we must also demand transparency; perhaps we can request that our legislators give us that transparency by surveying government workers and teachers/administrators about their political background so we can at least see what the level of diversity of thought currently exists in those two institutions. Although, I do feel we should begin with the media since we control what news we consume with the TV channels we watch, which radio stations we listen to and which newspapers we read these news outlets should offer their viewers/readers/listeners that transparency of their diversity of thought.