The Prince and the Professor

Author:
Publish date:

Professor Walter Benn Michaels argues in his book, The Trouble with Diversity, that “diversity” has been linguistically hijacked as a way to describe economic inequality. He views this as a problem because it affirms the notion of poverty as primarily a choice and that reducing the number of poor people then becomes a “reduction in economic diversity,” and “disrespectful to the agency of the poor,” which, when you put it that way, sounds like a pretty lousy thing. Michaels is a batty English professor, so while it is likely that he’s deriving most of his argument from some post-structuralist analysis of Sister Carrie or something equally irrelevant, he does offer a compelling notion that diversity jargon has obfuscated real discussion regarding the increasing wealth gap and class partitions. The notion of, I don’t know, at least a few externalities affecting one’s position in an existing and entrenched class structure, is anathema to Murray’s argument in the Journal, in which poor people either have low IQs or are just really ardent ‘consumers’ of leisure.
Wit and Sharp Argument Skewer a Damaging Euphemism – [The New York Observer]

Related