Friday, January 8, 2010

When the demand for diversity hits the need for political correctness

This is a local story with fairly widespread implications (of the "don't let this happen to you" variety).

The director of education of a local Miami botanical garden started a very highly regarded educational partnership with the local schools. She (a white woman) was planning an educational program with local (majority minority) public school students. A Latin man on staff asked to be excused. She remembered the requirement for diversity.

What happened next?

[T]hree staff members had complained to the garden's chief operating officer, Nannette Zapata, about a meeting where Lewis met with some staffers -- including several woman and a Hispanic man -- to discuss an upcoming leadership forum for teenagers.

"The comment I made came after a junior employee asked for another employee, a young man, to be excused," Lewis said. "I said unless he had a personal obligation I wanted him there, because I did not simply want a group of white women addressing and leading these teenagers."

If she had showed up to the forum with "a group of white women", the absence of diversity would be noticed.

But, because she said, "I do not simply want a group of white women addressing these teenagers", she was fired.

What do you do when the demand for diversity hits up against the requirements of political correctness?

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