OPINION: Diversity quotas are unhelpful, condescending to minorities

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It’s common knowledge that employers cannot pass over a potential employee based solely on their race, gender, sexuality, religion or other basic factors. But what happens when a hiring decision is made simply because someone has one of these factors that is more “diverse” than others?

Diversity is part of what makes America great. Our nation is a combination of people from all over the world who have differing beliefs and ideas.

However, there will always be people who think that they are better than others simply because they look, act or think in a way that they believe is superior. This line of thinking is generally regarded as foolish, and for that I am thankful.

The downside of diversity, however, is that it is often forced or insincere. People are sometimes selected for positions based solely on the fact that they have some superficial factor that makes the group more diverse. This sort of selection could be described as a form of discrimination since the person’s personality and merits could easily be swept under the rug.

In the case of hiring decisions, companies are often pressured to hire people who are in minority groups to show their dedication to diversity. This could cause a company to overlook someone who is more qualified for a position simply because they don’t have a minority status.

In some senses, hiring someone based solely on their minority status can be as degrading as not hiring them based on that same minority status. A “diversity hire” simply becomes a statistic to show off to the public in a grandstanding show of virtue.

Hiring for only diversity could also imply that the company is doing the person a favor, as some who are more biased might say that minorities could not get the job without the graciousness of the company.

The bottom line here is that equality of outcome is not the same as equality of opportunity. America as a society will be truly equal when we ignore diversity quotas and start treating everyone with respect.

Choosing to ignore certain parts of people so that we can have some misguided semblance of diversity will not get us anywhere. I firmly believe in looking more at the merits of people instead of statistics. Perhaps when we stop looking only at people by their superficial factors, true diversity will come naturally.

Jason DeFisher is a junior in animal sciences and industry. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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