Tag Archives: sociology

Twenty-First Century Treatise: The Law of Diversity

As I’ve asserted earlier, we are as subject to Nature’s Laws as every other living thing on earth, even our social structures are bound by them. Current events in the US and Europe, manifested in groups such aIdentity Evropa or Unite the Right, whose aims are to create a homogeneous culture of religion and race, provide the opportunity to examine the merits of whether homogeneity or diversity enhance our societies.

There is no doubt that Nature exhibits a strong preference for diversity over homogeneity in the physical realm. No two snowflakes are alike, no two human finger prints are alike, and even identical twins develop differences in their individual DNA despite their origins from the same fertilized egg.

Consider the ruling families of Europe of not-so-long-ago who intermarried frequently as a way to keep a homogeneous bloodline and consequently curated a small gene pool as a result. Smaller gene pools equate to less diversity giving recessive genes higher probabilities of expression. This explains the frequency of  hemophilia in several royal families. (Conversely, unhealthy dominant genes could not be diluted in smaller gene pools, such was the case with the Hapsburgs.) The present kingdom of Saudi Arabia is challenged with problematic health issues due to its tradition of intermarriage at all levels of society: 

“But research at hospitals and medical centers indicates that the rates of some metabolic diseases may be as much as 20 times higher among Saudi Arabia’s 14 million people than they are in populations where the gene pool is more widely mixed.

Blood disorders such as thalassemia, a hemoglobin deficiency and sickle cell anemia, as well as diabetes are widespread, particularly in some provinces with high intermarriage rates…”

Humans aren’t the only animals that suffer from a lack of diversity due to small gene pools. Our fascination with purebred dogs means that these canines come with more inherent health issues than their mixed breed counterparts. Race horse breeders understand the problems associated with a small, homogeneous gene pool, and “have done comparatively well in maintaining genetic diversity…”

On the physical level, diversity allows for healthier outcomes overall, while homogeneity guarantees some genetic complications in future generations. But does the  strength of diversity  transcend the physical realm to the societal realm? We can unequivocally conclude that social and cultural diversity have a direct, positive effect upon our nations and their economics.

For example, studies consistently demonstrate,that mixed groups produce better outcomes to challenges than homogeneous groups when applied to workplace creativity and vibrancy.

Though people often feel more comfortable with others like themselves, homogeneity can hamper the exchange of different ideas and stifle the intellectual workout that stems from disagreements. (Kellogg School of Management)

Distinguished University Professor, Richard Boyatzis explains the benefits of diversity this way:

Diversity initiatives can have important and interesting social justice benefits, but the real reason you want to pursue diversity programs is for innovation. You want diversity of thought…Differences in race, gender, and socioeconomic background are three characteristics, but so are differences in learning style or differences in professional field….If a group has an ability to create dialogue, diversity of thought helps them not get into groupthink. 

A recent, extensive study  reveals that countries benefit greatly on an economic scale thanks to the diversity that immigration provides. For instance, young migrants tend to make up a larger portion of a population than natives, this is a crucial detail,  “Migration will play an increasingly vital role in coping with this transition and easing the burden on care and social security systems.”

Another economic benefit of immigration, among many, is that migrants are employed in “jobs…often characterized as ‘household production’ services. The increased presence of immigrants in this sector has made home services more affordable, which in turn has allowed more native-born women — especially highly educated women — to join the labor force or to increase their hours worked.”(Berkeley).

A venture into the political realm allows us to easily identify the problems with a homogeneous political system as those are most commonly known as dictatorships or tyrannies – where one strand of thought is compulsive throughout a society and any opposition is silenced immediately. There is no freedom in these societies. Historically and currently, there are plenty of examples of these – Mao’s China or Kim’s North Korea come to mind. But where two or more political parties exist within a nation, debate and compromise often lead to an overall better effect for the majority, as exhibited in the past few centuries of diverse governments across Europe and in the US. Additionally, these systems innately allow for freedom of differing opinions, freedom of research, as well as freedom for national discourse.

Our genetics, workplaces, economics, and political systems thrive best with diversity, exactly as Nature would have it. In the socio-cultural context, we witness that the Law of Diversity muscles its way through any attempt to homogenize our world.

One of the most obvious examples of cultural homogeneity is the ubiquity of American fast food chains exported throughout the world. Yet even these are not cookie-cutter establishments, their menus are adjusted to the native culture of their location. From “shrimp nuggets” offered by KFC in Singapore, to a “black Ninja burger” from Burger King in Japan, to a “dried pork and seaweed” donut at Dunkin’ Donuts in China, the Law of Diversity is manifested despite the homogenization of branding. Where imported cultural staples are adopted, there still remains a force of Diversity; New York sushi restaurants adapt the Japanese food to their Kosher clientele; in South America, sushi is dipped in salsa rather than soy sauce.

I’ve observed that workplace homogenization in the form of uniforms has prompted some eccentric personal grooming habits or accessorizing as a way of creating diversity; it’s the reason the tattoo culture has bloomed the last two decades, or facial piercings, or funky hairstyles and coloring. The trend of socks or ties in outrageous colors and patterns buck against the boardroom homogeneity of dark suits, allowing for an expression of differentiation. It’s as if on a subconscious level, we’re finding ways to be diverse from one another despite global, corporate pressure to look homogeneous.

At our very base, cellular level, there exists Diversity, and we are healthier for it. It should come as no surprise then, that our social structures, bound by the same Natural Law, are healthier when Diversity is preferred over homogeneity. Though some of us still strive to create a homogeneous culture, with one religion and one political system and one dominate race, Nature’s Law of Diversity will see to it that it is not permanent.

Here’s to our differences, for they constitute creativity and robust societies.

In peace,

Frankie


Climate Change

Children stay home from school so mom and dad avoid the ICE men.

My, how the climate has changed.

I smile at the pretty woman with the beautiful, colorful scarves around her head, she smiles back.

We both know this small interaction is meaningful in a world where prejudice and profiling are becoming the norm.

Why do I feel as if I’m something special just for having given her my silent acceptance?

I can only say that it is because of the climate change.

City councils, county supervisors, debate and argue about whether or not to be a place of ‘sanctuary’.

Walls built, invisible or monolithic, to keep them out and keep us in,

Where contention and ideologies clash and drive us into just another desperate nation.

Wow, has the climate changed.

Sons disavowing parents, relationships rent over fact vs. fiction, journalism vs. propaganda, country vs. party.

Facebook friends blocked, or blocked yourself.  Twitter is a national diary, faithfully recording the reactions of a president and his populace.

Social media and media conflate our anxiety, smoldering anger gives way to hateful outbursts, violence, and abuse.

Damn, how the climate’s changed.

Uncertainty becomes a way of life, we once knew where we stood and we were really that exceptional, not anymore.

Gyroscopes of truths surround our thought habitat.  It is difficult to find our balance and so we become animals again; obeying instinct, forgetting reason.

No wonder fear is marketable, and so greedily consumed.

Have you noticed that the climate has changed?

Can we weather this storm and keep the damage to a minimum?

Will we find a way to overcome our fear and realize that we can stand together about certain things, that justice and human rights are non-negotiable?

Does the ship of our constitution have the wherewithal to navigate these uncharted waters with just a few frail masts and an even more frail wooden frame?

I wonder, these days, how we will survive this climate change.