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January 08, 2007

Diversity Not All It's Cracked Up to Be

It's not a popular position to say that throwing people with different ethnic or cultural backgrounds together, without giving those people a common cause, is due to backfire. But one person did say so, after a great deal of research. What's even more surprising is that this person did not enjoy the fruits of his research: Harvard professor Robert D. Putnam, who is a former Carter administration official.

[Putnam] confessed to Financial Times columnist John Lloyd that his latest research discoverythat ethnic diversity decreases trust and co-operation in communitieswas so explosive that for the last half decade he hadnt dared announce it until he could develop proposals to compensate for the negative effects of diversity, saying it would have been irresponsible to publish without that.

In a column headlined Harvard study paints bleak picture of ethnic diversity, Lloyd summarized the results of the largest study ever of civic engagement, a survey of 26,200 people in 40 American communities:

When the data were adjusted for class, income and other factors, they showed that the more people of different races lived in the same community, the greater the loss of trust. They dont trust the local mayor, they dont trust the local paper, they dont trust other people and they dont trust institutions, said Prof Putnam. The only thing theres more of is protest marches and TV watching.

Lloyd noted, Prof Putnam found trust was lowest in Los Angeles, the most diverse human habitation in human history.

As if to prove his own point that diversity creates minefields of mistrust, Putnam later protested to the Harvard Crimson that the Financial Times essay left him feeling betrayed, calling it by two degrees of magnitude, the worst experience I have ever had with the media. To Putnams horror, hundreds of racists and anti-immigrant activists sent him e-mails congratulating him for finally coming clean about his findings.

Putnam also groused that Lloyd had not put enough of the positive spin he himself had tried to do (which is why he waited five years before disclosing the results of this study).

Steve Sailer, writing for The American Conservative, has written a must-read article for anyone who is serious about discovering more about the damage the multiculturalism trend has done to our country. I cannot do it justice in a blog post.

By encouraging ethnic and cultural groups to maintain their identities without attempting to blend with the greater American culture, those who "celebrate diversity" are making a great mistake. We tend to look askance at other groups whom we assume do not share our values. People who come to America to live the American dream sans the American part are serving themselves while doing the rest of us a great disservice.

It is one thing to accept differences. It is another thing entirely to "celebrate" them to the exclusion of valuing what we have in common: in this case, being a part of the American experience.

On a tip from husband-dude

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Posted by Pam Meister at 12:46 PM | Comments (105) | TrackBack (0) | Multiculturalism

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