Magazine article New Internationalist

The Trouble with Diversity

Magazine article New Internationalist

The Trouble with Diversity

Article excerpt

The Trouble with Diversity by Walter Benn Michaels (Metropolitan Books/Holt, ISBN 0-8050-8331-6)

Walter Benn Michaels is angry. He thinks the Left has been duped or has duped itself into pursuing the holy grail of identity politics - respect for the Other' as a consolation prize for having lost the battle for a more equal society. For Michaels the whole array of diversity measures: apologies for past historic wrongs, affirmative action programmes, special days, weeks or months dedicated to this or that culture - reduce Left politics to simply a question of etiquette. The preoccupation with race, ethnic and gender identity is perfectly compatible with hierarchies of wealth and power. All this amounts to in the end, Michaels believes, is helping to create the 'level playing field' romanticized by neoliberal advocates of free trade and competition. …

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