Measuring Diversity and Inclusion

In collecting data on diversity, asking someone’s gender is a biased, leading question, even (especially) when it offers a bunch of options including non-binary, gender queer and gender non-conforming. It presumes and forces a gender identity theory frame on the respondent’s lived experience of the sex/gender system. It’s like viewing that experience through a bundle of narrow straw hole lenses, and asking which straw hole lens correctly assimilates you into its underlying theory of gender identity politics.

Once you buy into one of the lenses, the underlying theory then resorts to a con-man’s theory of consent to tell social engineers what they can get away with doing to you to orchestrate your socioeconomic behavior in relation to others. It ingests this information into some murky utilitarian calculus of sex/gender cultural segregation. It is the racialization of sex/gender, like the racialization of mythological culture that underpins the theosophical and anthroposophical roots of most New Age movements.

We don’t need surveys that feed faux consent and justification to fearful social engineers to cast us into racialized types so they can train us how to treat each other ecumenically, with “dignity”, each according to our “inclusively” honored “diverse” typecast nature.

Uh, no.

To get more sincere, valid and meaningful information about people’s sex/gender experience that elicits and informs rather than suppresses and erases our American values of liberty and equality for all, a survey could ask:

“How many people in your workplace perceive your gender as …” and provide a grid of gender perception options vs number or percent ranges.

“How many people in the broader community outside your workplace perceive your gender as …” with a grid of gender perception options vs number or percent ranges.

“How many people in your private life perceive your gender as …” with grid of gender perception options vs number or percent ranges.

“How strongly does your perceived gender at work limit your spontaneity and ease in your workplace communications and relationships?” with a Likert scale from extremely to not at all.

This would be a cis scale without stereotype threat, and it would capture the extent to which all people feel constrained by gender, even those who persistently pursue a cis-conformist-assimilationist internalized-passing strategy through its minefields. Even people who adore their perceived gender and take joy in conforming to it will admit it can be restricting, difficult or stressful at times to live up to it or maintain it for the sake of others.

“How strongly does your perceived gender in the broader community limit your spontaneity and ease in your community communications and relationships?”

“How strongly does your perceived gender in your private life limit your spontaneity and ease in your private communications and relationships?”

This more open-ended approach to measuring gender experience also gives ambit to a self-in-relation communitarian experience of agency and identity, which is more inclusive of Catholics and other communitarian cultural or spiritual traditions such as many tribal traditions and that of many African, Native American and Asian civilizations, instead of shoehorning the experience of gender into a Protestant individualist frame (who/what am I = “how do i look to my God in the mirror by myself?”)? Such an invisible frame only gives more proxy cover for today’s kinder gentler Know-Nothing/KKK movements across the political spectrum, and the WASP cultural-theocratic supremacism at their core.

In general, I also like to see “Decline to State” as an explicit option when asking anything about private life. Maybe it brings in less data, but I think it would build more trust by being less coercive, and the quality of the data would improve. It would be interesting to find, or do, a research study that tests whether my hypotheses about that are true.

It’s also important to measure the extent to which specific political and economic divisions are becoming racialized, such as when locally dominant political parties, factions or long-standing coalitions develop a bigoted mythology around the moral character traits of their locally non-dominant opponents.  So explicit questions should be asked about specifically named political and economic affiliations or identifications, and about the respondent’s perceptions of the moral character of typical members of specific other political or economic categories.

I think diversity and inclusion surveys tend to ignore the fact that we live in the United States of America where our federalist republican form of government structures both the ground rules and the aspirations of our wildly diverse moral/religious private and civic lives. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in such push surveys, though, as they try very hard to coerce answers in favor of funding more diversity training for everyone under the sun, making more business for the industry sector that creates these surveys.

That help-yourself-to-more-money is one side of America’s success, for sure. But there’s another side that ought to be the guiding light for these surveys instead. We need data that helps us leverage the underlying commitment to religious tolerance that originally created our nation, not data collection instruments designed to create the illusion that diversity is something Americans need to be tutored on.

Instead of trying to generate data to justify building some consensus on the value and structure of diversity and inclusion in our workplace, we should be generating data to remind ourselves that our belligerent lack of consensus is precisely what our Constitution guarantees us, and what our enemies foreign and domestic most seek to destroy, because it is our strength. Diversity and inclusion in the USA can only succeed in one way, not as a harmony but as a cacophany, and as the obstinate right and demand to play completely out of tune with each other side by side, forever.

A good survey should give ample opportunity for respondents to express enthusiasm for, and assert their Constitutional right and need for, being surrounded by people they hate and who hate them, for their mutual defense against every faction’s inclinations toward theocracy and fascism. In one’s home, people we hate can be prohibited and unwelcome. But in most workplaces, especially any public ones or ones providing services to the public, people we hate are indispensable.

When inclusivity and diversity are not aggravating and morally repugnant to all involved, they are not inclusivity and diversity at all. They are just the opposite. A survey measuring inclusivity and diversity should ask how often one finds one’s co-workers and customers personally morally repugnant. Then it should ask how often one has observed one’s morally repugnant co-workers or customers doing actual harm to people in or via the workplace, and how likely one believes one’s morally repugnant co-workers are to do actual harm to people in or via the workplace in the near future. High scores on the first question with low scores on the latter two would be an optimal combination. Any score but high on the first question indicates a lack of genuine diversity. Any  score but low on the latter pair of questions indicate a lack of genuine inclusivity.

Diversity and inclusion means freedom to hate bound up tightly with freedom from harm.

It is decidedly not freedom from hate, because that is always bound up tightly with freedom to harm. To be free from others hating me in public, I would have to be asymmetrically free to harm them, either directly or through state police power.

Freedom from credible threat of harm must always be guaranteed to all, including to those who hate me, wherever I or anyone else may go without trespassing. So we must find ways to render hate speech unthreatening wherever we do not restrain its free expression,  and to apply minimal time, place and manner restraints on hate speech in circumstances where we cannot render it unthreatening.

Both the manner in which we render hate speech unthreatening, and the manner in which we reluctantly resort to restraining it when it cannot be rendered unthreatening, must afford due process of law to all involved. Otherwise society loses freedom from harm as a public value, and loses both equity and inclusion with it.

To measure diversity and inclusivity in a location, say a workplace, surveys and other data collection methods should focus on capturing the degree to which people in that workplace observe, experience, value and support freedom to hate, freedom from harm, freedom from hate and freedom to harm in the workplace setting. And they should measure how people in that workplace observe, experience, conceptualize and portray the practical correlations or relationship dynamics among those four working conditions. In the nuances of those dynamics, we can seek creative ways to achieve reliably consistent high freedom to hate, high freedom from harm, low freedom from hate and low freedom to harm.

This would give us the data we need to measure and improve actual diversity and inclusivity as independent attributes of the workplace, for the good of ourselves as individuals, for our families and communities, and for our nation.

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