What Is Diversity Really?

It’s about 6:45 AM and I’m in the gym on a treadmill jogging along at 4.3 MPH. I don’t tell you this to impress you. I’m a little embarrassed, so let’s just say I’m on a treadmill before the sun has risen and pat me on the back for that. I am not here for vanity, but for health. I read the crawl on CNBC intently, knowing that I’ll have forgotten most of what I read before the market opens nearly three hours from now. Another million slips through my fingers.

Below where the TV is mounted is an eight-foot window that spans the length of the workout room and affords us speedsters views of the basketball court. For the last few minutes, an older lady, probably in her late 60’s, has been playing a little one-on-none. She makes some shots, misses others, and runs awkwardly after the ball when it bounces away. She returns to her comfort zone and takes another shot.

CNBC is talking about a pharmaceutical company reporting better-than-expected earnings. The crawl on the bottom of the screens tells me something about something. She shoots. She scores. She stops and is talking to a man. A Black man about 30, like they’re the best of friends. He waves good-bye and heads off to begin the rest of his day. Whatever that is. Maybe he’s a lawyer. A doctor? A construction worker? In the gym, we’re all equal. We’re stripped of our Brooks Brothers and our couture. And our pretensions. The weights don’t lie. Neither does spandex.

CNBC has gone to commercial. I’m working up a decent sweat. My heart rate is picking up. I don’t monitor it, but I can feel it because I want to stop, But I don’t. I go on. Because that’s what you do.

The basketball lady hasn’t stopped either. She goes on because that’s what you do. Soon, she is joined by a young lady who works at the gym. She is either Black or Hispanic. Maybe a little of both. Maybe she’s Dominican or Puerto Rican. Maybe she is an African American. Maybe she’s just a person. Just like the lady playing basketball is just a person and the man, who might be a lawyer or a construction worker, is just a person. Maybe everyone is just a person.

And I find myself wondering why it matters. I don’t care about diversity in the way it’s defined by the left. If we truly were embracing diversity, we would remove the checkboxes. We would eliminate quotas, and we’d truly do what Rodney King asked. We’d all just get along.

I’m more interested in diversity of thought. I am excited by diverse opinions. And food. I love ethnic food, which is why I’m on a treadmill at the big fat butt-crack of dawn! But I digress.

I am not concerned with surrounding myself with people who look different from me. I’m more interested in being exposed to people who think differently from me. If we all look different but think the same, what have we accomplished? A Benetton ad; something that looks good on the outside but is hollow and fleeting, and pointless.

So I watch the young dark girl play basketball with the old white woman. I watch them laugh and tease; and their body language tells me they’re engaging in friendly trash talk. I see the occasional high five. I see them hug and go their separate ways. And then I realize those two beautiful ladies gave me a story to tell. I stop the treadmill and walk to my car, legs rubbery, sweat in my eyes. But that’s okay. I don’t need my eyes to see what I need to see. For that, I need my ears.

by Adolfo Jiménez – Vice Chairman, Libertarian Party of Broward County