Sunday, July 29, 2018

Diversity worship only divides us further

“BBC CHIEF STUNNED BY SECRET SEX SURVEY.” The headline blaring from Britain’s Mail on Sunday one balmy morning in London a few weeks ago was irresistible. And the news report didn’t disappoint. “Can someone have a guess at how many people we’ve got who have disclosed they are transgender at the BBC? Ten? Anyone else? Twenty?” asked the BBC’s director of diversity at a social policy forum last month.

“I’ll put you out of your misery. We’ve got 417 people within the BBC who have said they are transgender, almost 2 per cent of the ­organisation.”

Using personal information from staff, diversity bean counters at Britain’s national broadcaster found 11 per cent of its employees are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Diversity executive Tunde Ogungbesan says that while the number of transgender people is “very, very high”, the broadcaster needs more lesbians.

The real misery is that we count this stuff at all. Extrapolating from the diversity director’s comment that “what gets measured gets done”, the next advertisement for a BBC job will logically need to seek a candidate with the following qualifications: must be able to write, have proven reporting skills, work effectively in a small team and be a lesbian. And how do they check the veracity of a candidate meeting that last stipulation? If only this were a facetious ­scenario.

A few days later, on July 4, former US president Bill Clinton tweeted: “E pluribus unum — out of diversity comes a deeper strength and unity rooted in the timeless ideals that we celebrate today. It’s ‘We the People,’ not ‘Us vs Them’…”

If only that were true. Instead, we are being sold a lemon every time someone says diversity makes us stronger and unites us.

Diversity, the new buzzword, has much in common with its older sibling, multiculturalism. The celebration of diversity and the daily condemnation of white male privilege has morphed into a project that divides us. When anchored to group identities, this new diversity project becomes the antithesis of the liberal model that emerged from the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment. The timeless ideal that all individuals are revered as equal regardless of colour, creed and gender is being turned on its head.

To be fair to the BBC, by crunching the numbers about the sexual identity of its staff, the diversity bean counters are simply doing their bit, as disciples of this new project. But it didn’t need to unfold this way. Respecting diversity is admirable because it unifies us. Worshipping diversity as some kind of new age god in a secular world is destructive.

The more we label and encourage people to join smaller identity groups defined by being transgender or black lesbian or Muslim gay, the “other” — the outsiders — grow larger in number. There are more people outside the group to be suspicious of, to fear and even loathe.

People gathering in groups, associating with tribes, preferring their own kind, is as old as the history of mankind. As English philosopher Roger Scruton said as he watched the 1968 Paris protests — when middle-class students turned out to protest without really knowing what they supported — craving membership is “a deep adaptation of the species”.

Whereas people in previous centuries joined or were born into religious communities, in the modern secular West the search for meaning is leading people to seek out different group identities. It raises the real threat of a new and different form of sectarianism as politics and policies, even if well-meaning, encourage people to be defined by smaller and smaller group identities, fracturing along sex, sexual identity, race, colour, creed or other such traits.

Group identities don’t unify people, they build walls between people. Loyalty to the tribe, for example, means members are less likely to publicly countenance divergence from group orthodoxy even if they disagree in private. Tribal loyalty explains why it’s harder for an indigenous man, such as Warren Mundine, or an indigenous woman, such as Bess Price, to diverge from indigenous orthodoxy on anything from welfare to family violence to education and employment.

It explains why feminists within the #MeToo movement cling together, even if they harbour private reservations about trivial complaints about bad sex that have formed part of the ­movement.

Tribal loyalty explains why so few Muslims will say what Ayaan Hirsi Ali dares to say about aspects of Islam. Only the bravest speak up, understanding that they will be cast out as apostates, joining the ranks of “other” — people beyond the group — who are treated with suspicion, and worse.

Tribal loyalty explains how the heartbreaking case of Nia Wilson has given identity politics a new battleground. Last weekend the teenager was changing trains with her sister in Oakland, California, when a white man stabbed her in the throat. Police are exploring a race-hate motive. When I typed Wilson’s name into Google, up popped actress Anne Hathaway’s thoughts on white privilege. Not a news piece about what happened to Wilson.

Rachel Cargle, who describes herself as the “Beyonce of Academia” created an Instagram post exclusively for people of colour to share their feelings about Wilson. “No white women, no men,” she wrote. She asked people to tag their favourite white feminists who had yet to talk about Wilson.

The misguided Beyonce of Academia is building walls. Separating feminists according to skin colour creates more otherness, more fear, more suspicion. It does not help black women. It creates “us vs them”.

Worshipping diversity also has led to more victimhood, not empowerment. Just as tribes compete, grouping people according to sex, sexual identity or other human traits fuels a marketplace of outrage. Different groups vie for top billing as the biggest victims, to attract public attention or policy responses or both.

Over at Meanjin, a left-wing artsy publication, a few indigenous women were outraged when, on the last cover, editor Jonathan Green decided to cross out the indigenous title of the magazine, replacing it with #MeToo. How dare white feminists trump indigenous women. Green confessed his sins and apologised profusely for his white, male privilege.

The diversity cult is not breaking down barriers by encouraging intellectual sharing of ideas and experiences between people. Instead, it’s constantly searching for malfeasants guilty of the new sin of for cultural appropriation.

This month, Scarlett Johansson pulled out of playing a transgender man in Rub & Tub, a movie about Dante “Tex” Grill, who ran brothels in 1970s Pittsburgh. Her first response to claims that a “cisgender” woman should not play a transgender man was to direct the complaints to media representatives of Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto and Felicity Huffman, three cisgender actors who won rave reviews, awards and nominations for playing transgender women.

Inevitably, Johansson succumbed, saying she was grateful that the casting decision sparked a conversation about diversity. But it wasn’t much of a conversation. It came down to a stifling and one-dimensional, simplistic story that only a transgender man can play the role of a transgender man. And when journalist Daniella Greenbaum wrote a piece for the website Business Insider defending an actress who was hired to act in a role as a transgender man, her column was spiked by editors for “violating editorial standards”.

Respecting diversity should encourage us to step into the shoes of someone else, to empathise with their stories that define them as human beings. Instead, in the Age of Diversity, we are told a single story about people premised on their sex, sexual identity or skin colour.

In a TED talk some years ago, Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie spoke superbly about the danger of the single story. She recalled one of her professors telling her that one novel “was not authentically African”.

“Now I was quite willing to contend that there were a number of things wrong with the novel,” said the author of Half of a Yellow Sun. “But I had not quite imagined that it had failed at achieving something called African authenticity. In fact, I did not know what African authenticity was. The professor told me that my characters were too much like him, an educated, middle-class man. My characters drove cars, they were not starving. Therefore, they were not authentically African.”

Adichie confessed to falling for single stories about others. Growing up in Nigeria, she saw the family’s house boy only through a prism of poverty. When she visited the boy’s home she was startled to see a beautiful multi-coloured basket woven by his brother. “It had not occurred to me that anybody in his family could make anything,” she said. “Their poverty was my single story about them.”

When people choose to define themselves according to a single identity, they encourage a single story about their sex, or their sexual identity or their skin colour with a focus on negatives. Black Lives Matter tells a tiny, incomplete, story about black people in America. A dance performance last month, Where We Stand, suffered the same flaw because a dance student thought it clever to force whites to stay in the lobby while people of colour, brown people, indigenous people and members of the Asian diaspora were invited to enter the theatre.

Revering diversity encourages an ugly backlash, too, attracting opportunist grandstanders such as Canadian woman Lauren Southern, who arrived in Australia wearing a T-shirt that read “IT’S OK TO BE WHITE”. It’s not smart to answer toxic identity politics with tit-for-tat toxicity, where people treat their pale skin as a badge of honour. Southern’s white identity politics marks a low point of the new sectarianism. We are regressing further and further from the liberal project that treats all ­humans as equal regardless skin colour.

As Adichie said, telling one story based on negatives about people flattens their experience. “The consequence of the single story is this: it robs people of dignity — it makes recognition of our equal humanity difficult. It emphasis how we are different rather than how we are similar.”

In a recent podcast, Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, recalled the 1934 experiment by American psychologist Richard LaPiere when he researched whether people were more racist in practice or theory. LaPiere took a Chinese student to a restaurant that had a sign saying they did not serve Chinese. At a time of growing American resentment towards Chinese, the student and the psychologist ordered and ate their meal without a hitch. LaPiere took the Chinese student, and his young Chinese wife, on a road trip across America, visiting 251 establishments, bars, bowling alleys, hotels and ­restaurants. The couple was denied service once. When LaPiere returned to his campus office, he sent questionnaires to each place — “would you serve members of the Chinese race?” More than 90 per cent said no.

Defining people according to race elicits divisive reactions, whereas a name and a face is a human story that attracts respect and empathy. As Brooks said: “Stories unite. Identities divide.”

Remember that next time an overpaid corporate executive or public bureaucrat champions diversity using a set of numbers based on gender or sexual identity or race.


Queenslanders are one step closer to making hepatitis history but more work is needed - News release

Over 82,000 Queenslanders are missing out on lifesaving treatment that can halt serious liver disease, simply because they are unware of new treatment options or are too afraid to ask. 

Speaking ahead of World Hepatitis Day, held annually on the 28th July, Hepatitis Queensland, CEO, Michelle Kudell said that around 150,000 Australians are still missing out on new Government funded cures for the hepatitis C virus, and nearly 200,000 Australians who are living with hepatitis B are missing out on vital care that can provide timely information on when to intervene to prevent liver damage, liver cancer and liver failure.

“World Hepatitis Day was founded to improve the lives of people living with viral hepatitis, so it is heartbreaking that 350,000 Australians living with the viruses are still missing out on basic medical care and life saving treatment,” she said. 

“Liver cancer is now the fastest increasing cause of cancer deaths in Australia. Those missing out or not coming forward for vital treatment put themselves at risk of liver cancer and serious liver disease.”

“We are using the lead up to World Hepatitis Day to encourage people who are living with hepatitis B or hepatitis C but haven’t spoken to their doctor to ask the simple question – can I speak to you about hepatitis B or C?,” she said.

Australians from all walks of life can have hepatitis B or C. Hepatitis Queensland is aiming to raise awareness amongst those affected by the viruses, but also family, friends and support networks who can help spread the word that help is available.

Michelle said that there has “never been a better time to speak to your doctor about hep B or hep C. If we get on board with treatment for hep C we have a very real chance of eliminating the virus as a public health threat in Australia”. 

A range of medicines for hepatitis C which have very few side effects are curing around 95% of people after only a few months. Your GP can prescribe this treatment which is funded under PBS. A record number (50,000) Australians have now been cured of hepatitis C but we need to continue with the momentum as  there are still an estimated 150,000 people who have not received treatment or are aware they are living with hepatitis C. 

Experts believe that people are not coming forward for a number of reasons including being diagnosed decades ago, not prioritising their own health care or treatment and/or misinformation regarding the effects of treatments. The new treatments are easy, tablets taken once daily with minimal side effects.

Michelle said that the number of people with hepatitis B who are missing out on medical care is alarming. In Australia, 38 per cent of people with chronic hepatitis B are unware they have the virus, while only 12 per cent of Australians who know they have hepatitis B are receiving antiviral treatment.   

A vaccine that protects against hepatitis B is readily available through the National Immunisation Program, but a significant number of people from communities where the virus is common have not been vaccinated.

“If you think you’ve been exposed to hepatitis B or C, or if you’ve already been diagnosed, we urge you to talk to your doctor about treatment options, or call the national helpline on 1800 437 222. It could save your life,” she said.

Everyone can play a part in making hepatitis history and it’s easy.  

World Hepatitis Day 28th July - Join us at The Redcliffe Volunteer hub from 12pm – 2.30pm and raise awareness of viral hepatitis.

Want to know more information about hepatitis B or C – visit our website 

Think you might have been exposed to hepatitis B or C? Call our National hotline (confidential service) 1800 437 222 or speak to your GP

About hepatitis B:

Hepatitis B is a virus transmitted through blood-to-blood contact or unprotect sexual contact. Approximately 240 000 Australians are living with chronic B and more than 1 in 3 of people do not know they have it.

1 in 4 people with hepatitis B who go untreated develop liver cancer

While vaccination rates are high among people born in Australia, they remain low among many people born overseas. Hepatitis B is endemic in Asia Pacific and Africa and in some remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The best protection against hepatitis B is to get vaccinated, or for those living with chronic hepatitis B, regular monitoring and treatment when indicated is the best protection against the development of liver disease and liver cancer.

About hepatitis C:

Hepatitis C is a virus transmitted through blood-to-blood contact

Approximately 200 000 Australians are living with chronic hepatitis C, and around 80 per cent of current infections are likely to have been contracted through unsterilized injecting drug use in the past. Around two-thirds of people living with chronic hepatitis C do not currently inject drugs. It can also be contracted through unsterile medical, tattooing and body piercing practices, particularly overseas.

There were 605 deaths and 73 liver transplants in Australia related to hepatitis C in 2016.

There is no vaccine to protect against hepatitis C but it can be cured with treatment.

New generation antiviral medications are available on the PBS to treat and cure chronic hepatitis C, these medications are over 95 per cent effective and have very few side effects compared to older medications. 

Via email from Jessie Badger []

Know-nothing journalists

JOURNALISM graduates are leaving university "almost comically underprepared" to work in the real world, according to a local newspaper editor.

Paul Mitchell, group editor of the South Australian Riverland paper The Murray Pioneer, said six young hopefuls during the paper's recent recruitment process were "completely clueless", unable to answer a series of basic politics, current affairs and general knowledge questions.

The 23 questions included head-scratchers such as "Who is Australia's Treasurer?", "What does NBN stand for?" and "Which political party does Donald Trump represent?" Only two of the six knew the name of the federal opposition leader, while one confused him with the PM.

"This isn't just a bad batch of candidates," Mitchell wrote in an editorial last week. "The Pioneer has been running basically the same test for many years, only altering the handful of current affairs questions included on the list.

"The abysmal results have been consistent, and if anything are slowly getting worse. What do the poor general knowledge and current affairs results say about our schooling system, and more specifically, our university system?"

Try your hand at the full quiz below. "If you get 10 correct, you're doing better than most of the allegedly news-hungry and switched-on job hunters fresh out of their journalism courses, ready to `tell people's stories' and take on the world," Mitchell said.

Mitchell told the editorial, which included sample responses from the six candidates, had "generated a lot of feedback" from people in the local area. He said most who took the test themselves scored in the 20s.

"Most people were a bit shocked at the responses we got to the test," he said. Asked whether he blamed the quality of the university courses or graduates' reliance on social media for their news, he said it was a "combination of both".

"When they've completed their studies and they get these type of results, that makes me scratch my head a little, but equally if these young people are serious about careers in media and journalism you'd think they'd be a little more switched on," he said.

But he didn't pin the blame for lack of preparation on a sense of entitlement, saying he hadn't picked that up from candidates. "Some of them are just generally clueless," he said.


'It's an African gang problem': Tony Abbott slams government for allowing violent Sudanese migrants into the country who are 'difficult to integrate'

Tony Abbott has voiced his opinion about the 'harsh realities' which Australia faces due to African immigration. The former prime minister said Australia 'stores up trouble for ourselves' by allowing violent Sudanese migrants into the country who are 'difficult to integrate.'  

'So there is a problem,' he said on 2GB radio, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. 'It's an African gang problem, and the Victorian socialist government should get real and own up to the fact that there is an African gang problem in Melbourne.'

Mr Abbott's comments follows the death of 19-year-old Laa Chol, as well as recent crime figures revealing Sudanese people living in Victoria are 57 times more likely to commit violent robberies than the general population.

Mr Abbott questioned why Australia allowed 'difficult' African migrants into the country in light of the problems faced by law enforcement in Victoria.

'I guess the big question though is: why do we store up trouble for ourselves by letting in people who are going to be difficult, difficult to integrate?' he said.

'And this is why I think all credit to Peter Dutton, who is doing his best to manage our immigration program in our national interest - not in the interests of all sorts of people who might simply want to come here.' 

His comments come after Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said there was a 'major law and order problem' with Sudanese gangs following the death of Ms Chol.

Ms Chol was allegedly stabbed to death when a gang of young African-Australians crashed a party in Melbourne on Friday night.

Police deny there is any link to Sudanese gangs over the killing.

Since her death, police have charged a 17-year-old boy with her murder, as well as a 16-year-old boy with being an accessory to murder and assault.

'There is a major law and order problem in Victoria and more people are going to be hurt until the rule of law is enforced by the Victorian Government,' Mr Dutton said in a statement to Fairfax.

'We don't have these problems with Sudanese gangs in NSW or Queensland.'


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here


PB said...

The BBC may be the first organization in the world to need more Lesbians.

PB said...

"Police deny there is any link to Sudanese gangs over the killing."

They dindu nuffins.