A couple of observations:
1. Charlie Rose—to borrow a phrase from the Brits—is a git. After Dr. Sowell mentions that the term “diversity” is meaningless and enumerates the several countries in which he’s studied “diversity”-boosting affirmative action policies, thus establishing his expertise, Rose interrupts him to explain “diversity” to the esteemed professor as if Sowell is ignorant on the matter. The gumption! The patronizing disrespect! Imagine if William F. Buckley would have done something similar say to Cornel West or Derrick Bell. The race-baiters would have detected all sorts of racist overtones, undertones and “tones” previously never heard of in such overt rudeness.
But both a scholar and a gentleman, Sowell permits Rose space to run roughshod with his mouth a bit, only for the presumptuous journalist to stumble over his Leftist talking points before the good-natured professor incisively cuts him and his buffoonery to pieces.
2. Sowell: “I’m fascinated with the extent of words. We’re conditioned to react like Pavlov’s dogs to words….this is a word [“diversity”] that has become magic.” Exactly. For the Left, “diversity” is intrinsically good and anything that enhances or hinders it is instrumentally good or bad. Yet, “diversity” is never defined and remains nebulous as to what it actually is and why it’s so valuable. It has become a fetish for the Left, and I mean “fetish” in a Marxist sense. It’s a term that has been so reified—an abstraction that is treated as a concrete, real thing—the presence of “diversity” or lack thereof is viewed as an objective feature of the world with objective value when instead it’s merely a projection of the Left’s own ideological preferences.
Furthermore, once objectified, “diversity” strips people of their individuality and composition of self. Race, gender, class, are becoming more important in hiring decisions, college admissions, politics and accolades than the actual content of one’s character and accomplishments. Reduced to these superficial elements, people are estranged from themselves and one another, as these features are more vital in the development, maintenance and operation of a social organization than the overall proficiency and merit of the whole persons who occupy it.
Don’t believe me? Just tour any university and look at the brochure and the ethnic makeup of the students and faculty boasted throughout its pages in its pitch to sell you its institution. Spend any time paying attention to campus administrative politics, and you’ll hear officials bemoan the insufficient amounts of “diversity” in certain departments. You’ll be made aware of bureaucrats who advocate for the increase in the enrollment for students “of color” and the retention of minority professors to boost the school’s competitiveness. “Diversity” has become a commodity and thus dominates us proles, especially in the most progressive and liberated of social entities.
How about that for a Marxist theory of alienation?