Diversity > Inclusion > Pluralism

Photo on Unsplash

Photo on Unsplash


The horrific violence in Charlottesville this past weekend and our federal government's divisive response have most of the United States talking about race, ethnicity, and other forms of diversity.

Fred Miller, the CEO of the Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group has said, "Diversity is who we are. Inclusion is 'how we do' diversity."

I agree, and would go a step further:

When we harmonize diverse talents, experiences, and perspectives through deeply shared values, we get something even better: Pluralism.

In a state of pluralism, no majority voice needs to tell the others, "I'll let you in," or "I'll 'include' you." Instead, we recognize ourselves and others as richly different teammates pursuing the same goals, animated by the same values.

If nothing else, there are sound scientific and economic reasons to seek diversity, inclusion, and pluralism. And for those of us concerned about morals and ethics, inclusion is table stakes for an equitable and just community, while pluralism may be the ideal state.

In the future, schools that thrive will nurture pluralistic cultures.

Here are some resources that support the case for a diverse, inclusive, and pluralistic community:

  • "What 11 CEOs Have Learned About Championing Diversity," by Stefanie K. Johnson, Harvard Business Review, Aug 29 2017 ("The CEOs raised a variety of reasons for caring about diversity—the most common being that they believed greater diversity leads to greater diversity of thought, to the ability to attract and retain top talent, and to a better understanding of their customer base. Susan Wojcicki of YouTube said that diversity is necessary for preventing homogeneity, falling behind, and losing their competitive edge. And Marc Benioff of Salesforce said, “Diversity is an important part of our culture of equality. Our employees are telling us that they want to work for a company that cares about diversity, and it helps us recruit people whose values align to ours.”)
  • "How Twitter Users Can Generate Better Ideas," by Parise, Whelan, and Todd, in MIT Sloan Management Review, June 1 2015 (The more diverse your network, the more creative your thinking)

  • "Network Diversity and Economic Development," by Eagle, Macy, and Claxton, in Science, May 21 2010 (The more diverse your network, the better your socioeconomic mobility)

  • "What the Google Controversy Misses: The Business Case for Diversity," by Christopher Mims, Wall Street Journal, August 13 2017 ("Research has established the business case for diversity. This isn’t an argument about redressing historical inequities or even present-day fairness. More diverse companies have better financial returns, are more innovative and are just plain smarter than their more homogenous competitors.")

  • "Multiple Points of View," by Morgan Housel, The Collaborative Fund blog, Feb 22 2017 ("You’ll get closer to figuring out what people want by understanding the opinions and viewpoints of as many different people who have seen the world through as many different lenses as possible.")

  • "What Biracial People Know," by Moises Valesquez-Manoff, New York Times, March 4 2017 ("diversity — of one’s own makeup, one’s experience, of groups of people solving problems, of cities and nations — is linked to economic prosperity, greater scientific prowess and a fairer judicial process. If human groups represent a series of brains networked together, the more dissimilar these brains are in terms of life experience, the better the 'hivemind' may be at thinking around any given problem.")

  • "Diversity Makes You Brighter," by Levine and Stark, New York Times, Dec 9 2015 ("When participants were in diverse company, their answers were 58% more accurate.")

  • "Reaping the Returns on Diversity," by Ankur Kumar, in Wharton Magazine, Apr 4 2012

  • "Diversity over Ability," in Whiplash by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe [This is an entire chapter in a book--and I cannot recommend this book highly enough]

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Christian Talbot