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?
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.”
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.