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Home » Arts, Private Philanthropy

News Briefing: The Downside of Diversity

By Kate Golden on August 8, 2007One Comment
  • Gap founder Don Fisher and his wife are known as philanthropists who give generously, selectively, and privately.  [San Francisco Chronicle]
  • Harvard political scientist finds that diversity hurts civic life in a massive new study.  [Boston Globe]
  • Donald and Doris Fisher plan to open a new museum of contemporary art in San Francisco.  [New York Times]
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One Comment »

  • Thanks for the post. Though is it just me, or does something seem off with Putnam’s new report? So the U.S. is an increasingly multicultural country, and a recent study has shown that diverse neighborhoods have less civic life than where everybody looks and acts alike. I’ll buy that. But is diversity the cause, or could it be other factors, like say, racism, class prejudice and xenophobia?
    Putnam’s stated baseline for his idealized America is his 1950s, Midwestern hometown where he knew the religion of ever fellow student, because this was important in choosing who “who was a possible mate or date.” One of his prescriptions for moving the country back to this kind of world is more English language instruction. But what of the growing majority of us who don’t identify with Ozzie and Harriet, and don’t want to leave behind our heritage or identities to conform to such a vision?
    Where I live in Spanish is fast becoming the dominate language. So why aren’t reports like this advocating for increased Spanish language instruction for English-only speakers? I think it is pretty clear why. There’s nothing new here. Just another case of the oppressor blaming the oppressed, when they should in fact be looking in the mirror.
    Unfortunately, you’ll never hear that viewpoint in mainstream media publications like the Boston Globe, which are invested in the status quo and spin the story 180 degrees with a headline that cries out “What happens when a liberal scholar unearths an inconvenient truth?” The good news is that reports like this present the opportunity for the alternative press, and blogs like this, to dig a little deeper. I look forward to it.

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