Diversity dead-end: Inclusiveness without accountability

by Robert Jensen

After a recent talk on racism and other illegitimate hierarchies at a diversity conference in Dallas, I received a letter from one of the people who had attended that asked “why you feel it necessary to perpetuate and even exacerbate the divisiveness of language when addressing a group of people assembled to learn how to live better together and be more accepting of differences?” He suggested that by being so sharply critical, I was part of the problem not the solution.

Calls for diversity and inclusiveness from people with privilege (such as a white man with a professional job living in the United States) are meaningful only when we are willing to address the systems and structures of power in which inequality and discrimination are rooted. But because such a critique strikes many people as too radical, crafting a response to those who want to avoid that analysis is crucial to the struggle for progressive social change. Below is my letter to him.

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Hello Resistance, meet Resistance…..

In Volume I of History of Sexuality, Michel Foucault famously notes:

Where there is power, there is resistance, and yet, or rather consequently, this resistance is never in a position of exteriority in relation to power.

Earlier this month, Foreign Policy magazine published their “First Annual List of the Top 100 Global Thinkers.” Notably, the list included figures like Dick Cheney, General Petraeus, Larry Summers, Salam Fayyad and Ahmed Rashid – a combination of people that many, including those of us here at PULSE, felt fell short of exemplifying what FP claimed it was doing: presenting a list of  ‘thinkers’.

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