A line in the morning paper’s editorial causes one to stop, think and calculate. The screed takes issue with a comment Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto made in an interview with Politico, in which she said, “We should be mandating diversity in our committees, mandating diversity in our hiring practices, mandating diversity throughout the United States Senate.”
She later is quoted as saying, “You just have to walk in the room and look at the senators that are there — the 100 senators, right? You could see the lack of diversity.”
The editorial counters: “Does Sen. Cortez Masto seek a constitutional amendment to replace the democratic process with a federal quota system to ensure the ‘proper’ distribution of pigments and chromosomes in the nation’s highest legislative body?”
How do you determine successful diversity? Do you know it when you see it, as Cortez Masto does — just like the way Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart spotted pornography? Can it be precisely calculated?
The first absurdity is how to explain what is “proper” diversity? Equal amounts of certain properties, traits and characteristics? Or matching the current distribution in the population of those characteristics? Is that distribution fair? Or is it a quirk of fecundity?
If you were to demand an equal distribution of chromosomes, the Senate would have to have an equal number of X and Y chromosomes, thus all male. Even one female upsets the diversity balance.
Even if the first elected Latina member of the U.S. Senate, as both the interview and the editorial observe, is talking about skin pigments and/or ethnicity, that too gets to be a mathematical absurdity.
Are we going to return to the days when states like Louisiana had laws on the books that stated any person with so much as 1/32nd black heritage was, ipso facto, black? Or does one purebred ethnic person equal two mixed race persons? Should the ratio of black, brown, yellow, red, white and other pigments match the population from the latest census or extrapolate for changes in the future? May a person identify as any race or gender they so choose? Or would that upset the diversity quotient?
And what about IQ levels? Should the senators and their staffs be required to match the median IQ of the nation? For every staffer or senator with an IQ of 130, you’d need to hire or elect someone with an IQ of 70.
What about age? The median age of senators is 62. The median U.S. population age is 38. Seems like a lack of diversity. And that tacky constitutional requirement that a senator has to be at least 30 years of age certainly flies in the face of the all-important diversity objective.
Also, aren’t there too many lawyers in the Senate and not enough hod carriers?
Each of us is a minority of one. Lumping people into categories and pigeonholes for the sake of achieving a counterbalance for some past perceived discriminatory behavior is itself discriminatory, counterproductive and contrary to democratic principles.
By the way, the Politico interview was for a section called “Women Rule Podcast.” Not very diverse.
What is the difference between demanding diversity and stereotyping?
At one point the “Women Rule” interview reports:
“There is a tendency for women to over think things, right? And so we think, ‘Oh, can I really — if I decide to run for office, am I qualified? Do I have the educational experience? Do I have the background? Do I have the ability?’” Cortez Masto says. “And I will tell you, there are men who look at the same office and say, ‘Well, how much does it pay and let me jump in and see.’ I think we need to do a better job of talking with women to say, ‘No, you don’t need to do that analysis.’”