America wants to celebrate diversity. It is a keyword and a buzzword for almost every organization going. Politicians throw it around saying they will implement it in their offices or cabinets and expound at length about how to make America or their state or their city express its diversity. Every company wants to develop a diverse work force and extols the virtues of a diverse workplace. But all of this chatter indicates that we are far far away from actually reaching the goal.
How will we know when we are diverse? When we know longer have to think about it or talk about it. When we no longer celebrate the first Latina poet laureate of the city (as Madison did this week). When AARP doesn’t have to run an in interview with the first African American woman who is the chief librarian at the Library of Congress. When the glass ceiling is a historical artifact and not a contemporary fact. When we don’t see on this day in history items about a new class of astronauts that includes the first (white) woman astronaut and the first African American man astronaut.
I inserted (white) in there because the default in these cases is always white and we should recognize that. We should admit that…and that eventually there will be the first African American woman or Latina or Muslim woman or whatever.
So when will America actually know it’s diverse? When we simply have a new president or senator or astronaut or doctor or CEO or actor or sports figure or entrepreneur or whatever and we don’t need to mention their gender or religion or race.