Friday, April 10, 2009

"Diversity" Is Stupid

I recently dropped by the hospital that my wife works at to have lunch with her. In the cafeteria, there was a big banner strung over the entire length of one of the walls touting the hospital's "Commitment to Diversity." Then there were several terms superimposed over black, white, asian, hispanic, east indian, etc., people which apparently are virtues that I am supposed to associate with the concept of "Diversity": opportunity, fairness, perspective... blah blah blah.

Sitting there, I tried to contain both my rage and the incomprehensible desire to spew food in 97 different directions while laughing. I tried to put myself in the place of the person who has just hacked off his left arm with a chainsaw, being wheeled into the emergency room, and being fitted with various IV drips, bandages, and being prepped to avoid shock.

I then imagine that he turns to whomever seems to be in charge and says, "Now, of course, there will be a female doctor working on me, correct? And your hospital does have the proper balance on its nursing staff between blacks, asians, caucasians, and east indians, correct? I mean, we both know that what is important here is that your hospital extend equal opportunity to the community - an impossibility without a properly diverse staff. And I wouldn't want my treatment skewed by having only those with a WASPy, Western perspective working on me...."

It's a hospital. There is only one thing that matters: technical skill in saving and preserving life.

Like the NBA, for instance, where the only issue is putting the round ball in the proper hole. I notice that nobody is agitating for affirmative action for midget Jews or Asian women in the NBA, are they?

Then I woke up this morning and got a gander at Washington Mutual's final press release, before being bought out of its insolvency by a more responsible bank:

Originally Posted by Washington Mutual Press Release {No doubt authored by somebody totally useless with an impressive title like "Vice President of Diversity and Community Relations"}

WaMu Recognized as Top Diverse Employer—Again

Company ranks in top ten of Hispanic Business’ Diversity Elite and earns perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index

SEATTLE, WA (September 24, 2008) – Washington Mutual, Inc. (NYSE:WM), one of the nation’s leading banks for consumers and small businesses, has once again been recognized as a top employer by Hispanic Business magazine and the Human Rights Campaign.

Hispanic Business magazine recently ranked WaMu sixth in its annual Diversity Elite list, which names the top 60 companies for Hispanics. The company was honored specifically for its efforts to recruit Hispanic employees, reach out to Hispanic consumers and support Hispanic communities and organizations.

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) civil rights organization, also awarded WaMu its second consecutive 100 percent score in the organization’s 2009 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which measures progress in attaining equal rights for GLBT employees and consumers. WaMu joins the ranks of 259 other major U.S. businesses that also received top marks in the annual survey. The CEI rated a total of 583 businesses on GLBT-related policies and practices, including non-discrimination policies and domestic partner benefits.

In both surveys, WaMu earned points for competitive diversity policies and programs, including the recently established Latino, African American and GLBT employee network groups, all of which have a corporate executive sponsor and champion.

“Diversity is an integral part of cultivating a welcoming, innovative and dynamic workplace here at WaMu. We are proud to be recognized for the opportunities and benefits we offer to all of our employees, including the specific efforts we have made to engage Hispanics and the GLBT community,” said Steve Rotella, WaMu president and COO. “We are committed to diversity at WaMu and pledge to listen to our customers and work closely with our employees to continue to make progress.”

These two recent honors build upon diversity recognitions WaMu received earlier in 2008. WaMu was named one of 25 Noteworthy Companies by Diversity Inc magazine and one of the Top 50 Corporations for Supplier Diversity by Hispanic Enterprise magazine.
Perhaps if the execs at Washington Mutual had been paying more attention to running a tight ship and balancing their books and making loans to creditworthy clients, it might continue to exist as an independent bank today.

Lesson for the Day: You can either be one of the "25 Noteworthy Companies by Diversity Inc. magazine" or you can be solvent. You choose. While WaMu was "winning points for competitive diversity policies and programs" it was bleeding red ink all over its ledgers. Perhaps if WaMu had been less "sensitive" to minorities of every kind, and more watchful of its loan recipients, it would not be a part of J.P. Morgan as we speak.

Only in America, where a nonentity such as Oprah Winfrey becomes wealthy and widely-respected, could people really believe that "a variety of perspectives" and "reaching out to the Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered, and Bisexual communities" is more important than maintaining solvency.

Welcome to George Orwell's 1984. And welcome to Axl Rose's Jungle.

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