Thursday, September 16, 2010
You're not diverse enough
Today, I attended a roundtable discussion at the Center for American Progress on this topic: Socially Diverse: Engaging and Mobilizing Communities of Color with Social Media. It was great hearing about the unique challenges that other minority groups struggle with in marketing and community organizing. It took me back to my Jewish community days, and makes me wish I spent more time exchanging ideas with other minority groups.
One thing stuck in my craw, however. The speakers represented the Black, Hispanic, and Asian / Pacific Islander communities. An Africian-American blogger was talking about the excitement of interacting with new communities online, and looking through your Twitter followers to see if you can find out their ethnicities based on their profile pics or avatars. Apparently, some black Twitterers use a Black "Twitter bird" picture, which is pretty clever.
The blogger asked how many people had friends with this "Black Bird" as their Twitter pic. Only about four people raised their hands. "See," she said. "You're not diverse enough!"
I took offense at this, even if she was only using it to make a point. I love people, as my readers know. And I love learning about different types of people and ethnic traditions. But in the same breath, I also don't think there is automatic merit in having a diverse social group. Knowing different types of people will probably make you a more well-rounded person, and probably more interesting too.
But I don't think the lack of a diverse group will automatically make you boring or dull, either. Certainly morality and ethics aren't connected to diversity at all. And while I'm generally liberal, I think it's unfairly elitist to cast dispersions on people who don't have a "rainbow posse."