We All Represent “Diversity”

W.J. Astore

On not judging books by their covers

It was only a few years ago that I learned I’m a “cis white male.” As such, I guess I’m a dime a dozen. Ordinary. Not representative of “diversity.”

I get it. I’m a historian so I know something about how various peoples have suffered extreme, even murderous, prejudice and exploitation over time. I’ve taught about slavery, the Holocaust, and various forms of discrimination against women and minorities, among other groups and peoples. The list goes on and on. The recent shootings in Colorado Springs where the LGBTQ community was targeted reminds us that too many people see diversity as a threat.

If only we could see ourselves just as human beings in all the richness that term describes. We are all part of the human community. We contain multitudes, as Walt Whitman said.

These people aren’t diverse. Where are the unhappy people? Seriously, this stock image is supposed to represent diversity, but I don’t see any blue-collar workers. Where’s the cleaning crew? Is everyone in this company lean and fit? Too often, even “diversity” images lack diversity.

Nevertheless, I understand how various people and organizations want to exhibit diversity by hiring or showcasing more women, or more Blacks, or more members of the LGBTQ community, and so on. It seems as if guys like me have ruled the world (or we act as if we have) for so long that we need to be taken down a peg or two. Or three.

What happens, sadly, is that in some cases what we get is what my wife likes to term “optical” diversity. Think about the U.S. government. You get a Black female (think Condi Rice) in a position of power, but she basically thinks and acts the same as a cis white male neo-conservative. You get a Black male (think Lloyd Austin) in a position of power, but he’s basically a card-carrying member of the military-industrial complex. You get “Mayor” Pete Buttigieg in a position of power, but he’s just another government technocrat spouting bromides in the pursuit of power.

Optical diversity shouldn’t be the main goal. What we’re striving for, or should be striving for, is diversity of perspectives, of life experiences, along with an openness to new ideas and viewpoints. A willingness to listen, to learn, to come together based on mutual respect, a shared commitment to work toward justice.

What about me? Am I just another aging cis white male? Just another out-of-touch white guy? Okay, Boomer!

I hope not. I was taught by my parents not to judge a book by its cover. So how do I represent diversity? If you were looking for “diversity,” would I fit the bill (no pun intended)? Here are ten reasons why I might be a “diverse” human:

  • I’m politically independent. In my life I’ve voted Republican, Democrat, and Green. I’m generally “progressive,” though I find labels reductive.
  • I’m a military veteran who’s written a lot of articles that are highly critical of the U.S. military.
  • I’m from a blue-collar family and I’m the first in my family to finish college.
  • I was educated as a mechanical engineer before I turned to history, where I specialized in the history of science, technology, and religion.
  • Speaking of religion, I was raised Catholic but now consider myself to be agnostic. I did my master’s thesis on Catholics and science; for my doctorate, I turned to evangelicals and science. I have a keen interest in both science and religion, respecting both of them as ways of knowing, ways of making sense of the world and ourselves.
  • I love the outdoors and consider myself to be pro-environment. So, for example, I am against fracking because of its demonstrable harm to our planet.
  • I lived and studied overseas in England for three years and have traveled to Italy, Germany, Scotland, and Wales. I gained a new perspective on America by being away from it.
  • I’m an introvert. (Do you want your team or organization to be all extroverts?)
  • I’m a science fiction fan. My favorite character on “Star Trek” is Mr. Spock. Yes, I can be a bit of a geek.
  • I like sports. Being from New England, I’m a fan of the Red Sox, Patriots, etc. I probably spend too much time watching “my” teams compete. My wife and I broke out bottles of champagne to celebrate the Red Sox winning the World Series.

Here’s my real point: All of you, everyone reading this, could make a similar list to showcase your (and our) diversity. In fact, if you’re reading this and would like to comment and share, please put a couple of things below that mark you as a “diverse” person. Because we all contain multitudes. Thanks so much.

6 thoughts on “We All Represent “Diversity”

  1. As for my attitude toward Diversity, I’m a believer in the Gospel of Christ and this particular insight, “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” Matthew 23
    Diversity is a subset of that General Idea.

    That is why in the 2 of the 3 emails I sent to the Pope and posted in BV, I greeted him as “my Brother in Christ.”

    Referring to him as ‘The Holy Father’ directly contravenes that teaching of The Christ.


  2. The latest assessment by Col. Douglas Macgregor yesterday on a new Polish non-MSM website. I think Col. Macgregor has a better understanding of what’s unfolding in the US WAR with Russia over Ukraine being in NATO than the wishful thinking of the US/NATO paid prognosticators.


  3. New US B61-12 Nuclear Bombs Deployed in Europe: What Will Russia Do? “Much Worse than the Cold War”

    Vladimir Kozin denounces the fact that the United States after tearing up the INF Treaty is deploying intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe close to Russia, in addition to the new B61-12 nuclear bombs. Regarding these bombs, he declares:

    “The B61-12s are already being sent to Europe, contrary to what was announced by Politico that they will arrive in December. We have information that the bombs already arrived because a specific aircraft such as the US F-35A fighter has already been delivered to NATO member countries. Even to Finland, which has not yet become a full member of NATO but is awaiting ratification.

    Finland has requested 65 F-35s capable of using nuclear weapons. And recently rumours have come from Helsinki that they would like to have US nuclear weapons on Finnish soil, as Germany has them, Belgium has them like Holland has them, and also Italy and Turkey. So, Europe is becoming a nuclear powder keg”…………………… with video



  4. I set my alarm for 6am to watch the live discussion between Scott Ritter, Mark Sleboda and Tony Kevin on recent events, the current situation and the future of the conflict in Ukraine. The 2-1/2 hour discussion kept my interest.
    In Moscow: Mark Sleboda, IR & Security Analyst & U.S. Navy veteran in Nuclear Engineering;
    In New York State: Scott Ritter, former U.S. Marine Corps intelligence officer & U.N. weapons inspector; In Canberra, Australia: Tony Kevin, Retired. Australian ambassador to Poland & diplomat in Moscow.


    It’s a wonder the US hasn’t silenced Scott Ritter as yet for his forceful and persuasive view the US is the primary cause of the War, and going so far in this discussion to say the US is EVIL!


  5. I was going to make a list of my own, but then I realized that mine would be pretty close to a copy of yours. And I get the optical diversity thing. The conversations at work are always “We need diverse candidates who fit with our culture’. So basically a visual clone rainbow. I usually refer to myself as ‘plain yogurt’ when talking about diversity, but if pressed I guess liking pineapple on pizza makes me an outlier. Or a heretic.


    1. “If only we could see ourselves just as human beings in all the richness that term describes. We are all part of the human community. We contain multitudes, as Walt Whitman said.”

      The diversity is in strong contrast to the sameness … at the atomic level (Quantum Biology – 19).

      My diversity is in large part due to my diverse experiences, but my sameness is all the way down to the atoms in the genome.


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