Adding to the ambiguity is the fact that the definition of ‘‘diversity’’ changes depending on who is doing the talking. The dictionary will tell you that it is ‘‘the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas,’’ and the word is often used, without controversy, to describe things like the environment and stock-market holdings. But in reality — which is to say, when applied to actual people, not flora, fauna or financial securities — the notion of diversity feels more fraught, positioning one group (white, male Americans) as the default, and everyone else as the Other. Multiple studies suggest that white Americans understand “diversity” much differently than black Americans. When Reynolds Farley, a demographer at the University of Michigan, researched the attitudes of people in Detroit about the racial composition of residential neighborhoods in 1976, 1992 and 2004, most African-Americans considered ‘‘integrated’’ to be a 50/50 mix of white and black, while a majority of whites considered such a ratio much too high for their comfort each time the study was conducted.
Read the rest here: Has ‘Diversity’ Lost Its Meaning? – The New York Times