The “Diversity” Myth By Polipundit

Heather MacDonald on “diversity” in the blogosphere:

Diversity grievances follow the usual logic: Victim-group X is not proportionally represented in some field; therefore the field’s gatekeepers are discriminating against X’s members. The argument presumes that there are large numbers of qualified Xs out there who, absent discrimination, would be proportionally represented in the challenged field.

If the quota mongers really believed these claims, they should welcome the web enthusiastically, since it is a world without gatekeepers and with no other significant barriers to entry. Imagine someone coping with real discrimination — a black tanner, say, in 1897 Alabama. To expand his business, he needs capital and access to markets beyond the black business corridors in the south. Every white lender has turned him down, however, and no white merchant will carry his leather goods, even though they are superior to what is currently on the market. Tell that leather maker that an alternative universe exists, where he can obtain credit based solely on his financial history and sell his product based solely on its quality — a universe where race is so irrelevant that no one will even know his own — and he would think he had died and gone to heaven.

For allegedly discriminated-against minority and female writers, the web is just that heaven. They can get their product directly out to readers with no bigoted editors to turn them away. As [“diversity” proponent] Steven Levy himself conceded in a column last December, there are virtually no start-up costs to launching a weblog: “All you need,” he explained, “is some cheap software tools and something to say.” In case reader prejudice is a problem, web writers can conceal their identity and simply present their ideas. And there is no established hierarchy to placate on the way to the top. As Levy wrote: “Out of the inchoate chatter of the Web, the sharpest voices simply emerge.”

So here is the perfect medium for liberating all those qualified minority and female “voices” that are being silenced by the mainstream media’s gatekeepers. According to diversity theory, they should be far more heavily represented in the blogosphere’s upper reaches than they are in traditional journalism. In fact, the opposite is the case, as the Washington Post’s Keith Jenkins pointed out. The elite blogging world is far less “diverse” than the mainstream media.

Why? Could it be that the premise of the “diversity” crusade is wrong — that there are not in fact hordes of unknown, competitively talented non-white-male journalists held back by prejudice? Don’t even entertain the thought. Steven Levy certainly doesn’t. After fleetingly rehearsing his own previous analysis of the web as a pure meritocracy, he dismisses the argument without explanation and trots out the hoariest trope in the “diversity” lexicon: “the old boy’s club.” Why is the top rung of the blogosphere so homogeneous? Levy asks. He answers: “It appears that some clubbiness is involved” — that is, that white male bloggers only link to other white male bloggers.”

That last theory is, of course, ludicrous. For example, is one of the top-25 trafficked blogs on the web. During the election season, we were in the top 10, with over 300,000 unique visitors on election day.

But readers don’t know my race or gender! Since I started this blog two years ago, I’ve made very little mention of my background. Yet, virtually every prominent blogger has linked to this blog, from Power Line in its earliest days, to Slate’s Mickey Kaus yesterday. The “diversity” agitators are out of luck.

This content is being used with the permission of Polipundit.

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