A World Where Diversity Isn’t An Exception But the Rule
First of all kudos to President Biden for living up to his promise of bringing in the most diverse cabinet in the history of the United States.
With the unique, yet appalling distinction of bringing in the first woman Vice President to the White House, he had certainly shown promise and now seems to have kept his broader word on the cabinet too.
I say appalling because I can’t be the only one sitting and wondering why arguably, and supposedly, the most progressive superpower of the world, only found an able woman leader in a 49th attempt.
Oh, and we didn’t still find a woman who’s worthy of leading the country — that count still remains 46–0 in favor of men.
In terms of the most basic diversity characteristics — gender and race, Biden’s desired Cabinet is nearly 55% nonwhite and 45% female, which beats President Obama’s cabinet which was 45% nonwhite and ~35% female.
This is a sure cause for celebration, but remind me, what are we celebrating again?
According to the CIA World Factbook, the United States of America is comprised of 50.7% females — a slight majority over their opposite gender.
According to the American Community Survey, about 73% of the reported population was White, in terms of racial classification.
What does that data mean and why do I bring it up? Two very simple and apparent observations.
Diversity is still a “selling point” than a “natural given”
In a country with a majority of female population, it took two hundred and thirty years, and forty-six presidents to get a close-to-even (not yet even, mind you) representation of women in the cabinet.
Let that sink in.
It was also probably more by design than by default that President Biden was able to achieve this distinction. My simple question is, why?
Shouldn’t a population represented by a certain demographic, naturally, also be led by a proportionate set of individuals at the helm?
Wouldn’t they only then be able to make fair decisions for the people that put them in charge?
The optics matter more than the facts
Diversity is great, and America has truly been the melting pot for all cultures and people from across the world have gone on to live the American dream.
But the reality is that the USA is still, as a matter of fact, a predominantly White population. So, is it really that unfair that the cabinet also has more white people than non-white?
Yet, the Biden administration has more non-white candidates. I am absolutely content and happy with this change — because where we lived in over two centuries of bias to the other side, a bit of an over-correction couldn’t hurt anyone.
But, the fundamental point still remains, that this had to be done to “show” the world that there was a conscious attempt towards diversity.
What will it take to make diversity a natural vs. a forced phenomenon?
The most honest answer to this is — I don’t know.
But what I do know is that it will require a change at a lot more fundamental level, than just playing around with the composition of a cabinet of ministers.
We will have more leaders the day we have more representation within the “potential set of leaders.”
We will have a more fairly represented potential set of leaders when we raise every kid in the world as an equal — irrespective of their gender, race, ethnicity, background, country of origin, or any other characteristic.
For that equality to be ever achieved, there needs to be first an acknowledgment of the inequity that is both a natural and a man-made part of the world we live in. We can’t change the natural, but we can sure amend the man-made part of it, and try to even out the odds.
For that, all we need is to go back to the drawing board and start with providing the most fundamental rights to every person in the world and not just giving out the “rights” but providing true access to these elements— access to the basics of food, shelter, and clothing; access to education; access and opportunities to fair employment as a start — and in turn a fundamental right to be treated equally, as a human.
I am not entirely certain if there is a single solution that can help achieve all of this — but for sure, if the powers that be recognize and acknowledge the disparity and seek to do something about it, that’s some start.
Because everything else then stems from these fundamentals, and will gradually change the world into a fundamentally equal world. It may not happen for years, decades, or even centuries, but I’ll continue to dream, that someday it will.