Is “Diversity” Really Our Strength?

Recently I was cor­re­spond­ing with a good friend about the whole “Diversity Is Our Strength” … what do you call it … sim­ply a “say­ing?”  Does it con­sti­tute a meme, of sorts?

Definition of the word MEME:  an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.
Definition of the word MEME: an ele­ment of a cul­ture or sys­tem of behav­ior that may be con­sid­ered to be passed from one indi­vid­ual to anoth­er by non­genet­ic means, espe­cial­ly imi­ta­tion.

As per the dic­tio­nary def­i­n­i­tion the say­ing, which is an “ele­ment of a cul­ture,” cer­tain­ly does seem to be passed from one indi­vid­ual to anoth­er … espe­cial­ly by imi­ta­tion or — or at least sim­ple rep­e­ti­tion, if you pre­fer.  From the Prime Minister of Canada, the erst­while President of the United States (Barack Obama) and his failed suc­ces­sor (Hillary Clinton), to all man­ner of “activists” and “com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­ers,” to uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges, pub­lic (tax­pay­er-fund­ed) agen­cies and orga­ni­za­tion, many a virtue sig­nalling pri­vate cor­po­ra­tion .. Diversity Is Our Strength has become a trite slo­gan and seem­ing ral­ly­ing cry of the so-called pro­gres­sive left.  But what does it mean?  Really.

That was the top­ic of the recent con­ver­sa­tion with my friend, and specif­i­cal­ly as it applies to my local hos­pi­tal:  A medi­um-sized “region­al health cen­ter” (yes, they jumped on the “health cen­ter” band­wag­on when it was all the rage) in a large semi-rur­al area of Ontario, Canada.  It’s just sim­ple fact that the imme­di­ate com­mu­ni­ty is over­whelm­ing­ly white (the pro­gres­sive left adore iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics) at around 94% white skin col­or, and like­ly the vast major­i­ty of those being non-hyphen­at­ed (e.g., they iden­ti­fy as just Canadian, and most of the rest of the world would iden­ti­fy them as just Canadian also).  In the wider rur­al and sparse­ly pop­u­lat­ed region, of which the local hos­pi­tal health cen­ter is the region­al spe­cial­ist med­ical and sur­gi­cal refer­ral cen­ter, the “white” pop­u­la­tion is undoubt­ed­ly even high­er, although there’d be quite a skewed demo­graph­ic in one par­tic­u­lar loca­tion, if tran­sient pris­on­ers were includ­ed, as a provin­cial jail hous­es hun­dreds of “non-white” or “vis­i­ble minori­ties” or “peo­ple of col­or” from the Toronto area.  That def­i­nite­ly isn’t “our strength.”  In addi­tion to the demo­graph­ics of the local com­mu­ni­ty and wider region there are the demo­graph­ics of the hos­pi­tal Board of Directors, man­age­ment, staff (includ­ing nurs­ing), med­ical staff, vol­un­teers, and patients which, like the wider com­mu­ni­ty, is over­whelm­ing­ly white and “Canadian.”  Those are just the sim­ple basic and back­ground facts that I’m work­ing with:  I’m not ana­lyz­ing or com­ment­ing on it, but sim­ply stat­ing facts that are rel­e­vant to my ques­tion of is diver­si­ty real­ly our strength and, more fun­da­men­tal­ly, what does that oft repeat­ed refrain even mean?  The “woke” “activist” is, not sur­pris­ing­ly, like­ly to view both the facts them­selves and the ques­tions raised as, at best, a “veiled attack on vis­i­ble minori­ties” or  … their favorite … HATE!!!

While thou­sands of Ontarians still don’t have access to a fam­i­ly doc­tor (or even a walk-in clin­ic), hos­pi­tal emer­gency depart­ments rou­tine­ly have waits of hours (we’re talk­ing 3, 5, 8+), para­medics wait in hall­ways just to “off-load” patients, and health care rationing does occur .. unless you make it dis­ap­pear by call­ing it some­thing else … per­haps patients and fam­i­lies can take com­fort in how “diverse” their hos­pi­tals are and how “diver­si­ty is our strength.”

A busy hallway at Brampton Civic Hospital on Wednesday January 10, 2018. Dave Abel - Postmedia Network.
A busy hall­way at Brampton Civic Hospital on Wednesday January 10, 2018. Dave Abel — Postmedia Network.

The Ontario tax­pay­er forks over mil­lions of dol­lars annu­al­ly to employ an army of peo­ple ded­i­cat­ed to not only ensur­ing that Ontario hos­pi­tals health cen­ters are “diverse” but adver­tis­ing it.  That’s how and why my own local health cen­ter loves to wax poet­ic in “com­mu­ni­ty” and annu­al reports, building/hallway/other sig­nage, and indeed take any oppor­tu­ni­ty to pro­claim them­selves “diverse” and that “diver­si­ty is our strength.”  This is not meant in any way, shape or form to be insult­ing to those indi­vid­u­als the health cen­ter trots out in an attempt to show off their “pro­gres­sive” and “diver­si­ty” bona fides (street cred) — and names/identities are made up — but just how does it make the health cen­ter “diverse” to trot out Fatima, the hijab-wear­ing “Iranian-Canadian” phar­ma­cist, or Martin, the flam­boy­ant rain­bow flag wav­ing out­pa­tient depart­ment recep­tion­ist, for pho­to ops and to “open up” about “what it means to them” to “work in a diverse envi­ron­ment.”  Simply say­ing it doesn’t make it so.  In fact, even mak­ing it so doesn’t make it so when the “diver­si­ty” is, in effect, an illu­sion — a cre­ation of affir­ma­tive action laws or poli­cies, and a con­cert­ed (tax­pay­er-fund­ed) effort to impose a “vision” (hos­pi­tals health cen­ters love to talk about their “mis­sion, val­ues and vision” on their web­site and at any oppor­tu­ni­ty they can cre­ate).

As a quick aside, although still relat­ed (in part), a fam­i­ly mem­ber was recent­ly in that same health cen­ter.  I will say that over­all the med­ical and nurs­ing care were excel­lent.  The wait-time (2 years for elec­tive surgery), not so great.  A few oth­er things, also not so great:  The most obvi­ous — because you couldn’t help but see it right in front of your eyes — was the rel­a­tive­ly new hos­pi­tal build­ing (Ontario recent­ly went on a hos­pi­tal build­ing spree to replace old out­dat­ed facil­i­ties with more mod­ern struc­tures that pret­ty much all look iden­ti­cal, just of vary­ing sizes) built with a trou­ble­some com­bi­na­tion of a lot of win­dows and a lot of ledges and crevices to act as perch­ing and roost­ing spots for pigeons.

No, pigeons and dirty win­dows have noth­ing to do with “diver­si­ty,” but what I sus­pect does was the food.  First, pub­licly fund­ed hos­pi­tals rely on “rev­enue gen­er­a­tion tools” to make-up sig­nif­i­cant por­tions of their bud­get that is not fund­ed by the tax­pay­er; this rev­enue comes from food ser­vices, park­ing, dif­fer­en­tial room rates, and oth­er sources.  If I recall cor­rect­ly (I know I talked about it at the time), when there in 2016 I paid $12 for a reg­u­lar (not any­thing fan­cy or “spe­cial­ty”) sand­wich, Coke, and bag of chips (the type you might give out at Halloween — that have 5 or 6 chips in a tiny bag).  It was obvi­ous, as it long has been, that the hos­pi­tal is sim­ply fail­ing to iden­ti­fy and cap­ture a wide vari­ety of rev­enue gen­er­a­tion tools/opportunities, both that would help the hos­pi­tal (gen­er­ate rev­enue) and, most impor­tant­ly, enhance patient and vis­i­tor expe­ri­ence.  My fam­i­ly mem­ber relied on me for food or hot drinks out­side of hos­pi­tal meal deliv­ery times, as she was not able to wheel her­self down the hall to an ele­va­tor and descend to the cafe­te­ria or kiosk oper­at­ed by Tim Hortons.  There was no “snack” or cof­fee cart that came around at any oth­er time, and we nev­er saw a vol­un­teer out­side of the few hud­dled around a desk inside the hos­pi­tal main entrance, where they could point you in which direc­tion you should go for what­ev­er you were there for.  There was no oppor­tu­ni­ty for a patient to even use the phone by the bed, that they have to also pay for, to phone and have food or drink deliv­ered (unless from out­side the hos­pi­tal).  The nurse would, and did, bring ice water or a gin­ger ale when asked, but the hos­pi­tal missed out on some­thing like $50 — $100 that my rel­a­tive would have hap­pi­ly spent dur­ing her stay on sup­ple­men­tary food, cof­fee, cus­tom (“room ser­vice”) meal choic­es, and even wine with din­ner (alco­hol should not be a com­plete non-option for suit­able patients in hos­pi­tal).

Anyway … on to my “diver­si­ty” point, if you are still with me:  I was asked if I’d please go and get a sand­wich and cof­fee, which I pro­ceed­ed to do, and this hos­pi­tal health cen­ter in one of the most “Canadian” of Canadian small cities and rur­al regions had two choic­es of sand­wich that day  —  cur­ried chick pea or cur­ried cream cheese.  No ham.  No turkey.  No egg sal­ad.  No any­thing that a near 80-year-old Canadian patient would like­ly even try (my rel­a­tive wouldn’t).  Never mind “near 80-year-old” … Would you want to try, let alone pay $6.00+ for, a cur­ried chick pea or cur­ried cream cheese sand­wich?  If you would, then great for you!  But I sug­gest that most patients, vis­i­tors, and staff at most Canadian hos­pi­tals (out­side of a few major cities) would, at a min­i­mum, pre­fer ham, or turkey, or tuna, or some­thing less “diverse.”

Is it pre­sump­tu­ous or in any way “wrong” to sup­pose that such menu options at such a loca­tion are, in fact, indica­tive of an infec­tious pro­gres­sive left cul­ture that has spread its philo­soph­i­cal ten­ta­cles to every cor­ner of … every where and every thing … in what, arguably, amounts to some­thing like style over sub­stance.  I cer­tain­ly don’t see it as the hos­pi­tal attempt­ing to meet patient or fam­i­ly need/demand.  They may like to sug­gest that it is, in some way, an attempt to meet staff need/demand.  I’d be very sur­prised if cur­ried chick pea and cur­ried cream cheese is what the staff is demand­ing.  So, no I don’t think it pre­sump­tu­ous or wrong in any way to sup­pose that what the hos­pi­tal is doing, in fact, is virtue sig­nalling.  Look how diverse we are … cur­ry!  Just like in “big hos­pi­tals” in Toronto.

Now, back to Fatima the phar­ma­cist from Iran and Martin the flam­boy­ant, out and proud homo­sex­u­al recep­tion­ist:  What about their employ­ment at the hos­pi­tal makes the hos­pi­tal diverse?  Take myself and five oth­er white males, even with­in the same age range, and I assure you that you will find plen­ty of diver­si­ty, if you will look beyond our skin col­or alone, and look beyond our gen­der and you’ll find even more diver­si­ty of thought, per­son­al­i­ty, idea, reli­gious beliefs, abil­i­ties, edu­ca­tion, expe­ri­ences, capa­bil­i­ties … as just a few exam­ples of how diverse we are.  By the way, our skin col­or is not with­in our con­trol, just as our gen­der is not with­in our con­trol.  And by “gen­der” I don’t mean the new fan­tas­ti­cal super-duper gen­der the­o­ry con­cept of gen­der  —  My gen­der is not a flu­id, nor is it flu­id.

Even if we find that hav­ing peo­ple of var­i­ous skin col­ors, sex­u­al­i­ties, and ethnic/racial/cultural back­grounds does, in fact, some­how cre­ate “diver­si­ty” … the next ques­tion is, so what?  How does that, in and of itself, make the orga­ni­za­tion “stronger?”  How are you defin­ing “strength?”  How are you assess­ing whether there is an increase, or even a sta­bil­i­ty in that strength as a result of choos­ing the Iranian Muslim immi­grant female phar­ma­cist over the white male Canadian phar­ma­cist?  If it is because she was the best qual­i­fied (all around) can­di­date for the job, then there’s no need to even men­tion — and cer­tain­ly no need to “cel­e­brate” — her reli­gion, coun­try of ori­gin, skin col­or, gen­der or any­thing else.  Presumably she was the best can­di­date for the job  — which may lead to some ques­tions about how and why there were no suit­able Canadian can­di­dates for the job and the hos­pi­tal had to wait until some­one immi­grat­ed from Iran in order to fill the vacan­cy  —  and she just hap­pens to be who and what she is.  But aside from her employ­ment-relat­ed cre­den­tials none of that mat­ters, and none of it “strength­ens” the orga­ni­za­tion one way or anoth­er … oth­er than, per­haps, for virtue sig­nalling pur­pos­es:  Look at us, we are “stronger” than you are because we have a fat, black, crip­pled dyke in a wheel­chair.  That’s a lot of box­es ticked.



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