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Diversity beyond gender and race

From: Robert Johnson
Date: Thu Oct 24, 2002 10:06 pm
Subject: Re: Diversity Game

from wbai.net,

Daily notes from the iPNB meeting on bylaws,
Washington, DC, 10-14-02, Monday

Next station board duty:

Bob Lederer - "Unity Caucus", WBAI area - Reads Max Blanchet proposal to mandate that the make up of the staff reflects the make up of the people in the community.

Spooner - At KPFA this would work backwards with regard to insuring diverse staff as now there is a higher proportion of underrepresented people on the staff than exist in the community.

Bob Lederer- True, and the wording could easily be changed to make more sense.

Cagan - The intent is that the station board has responsibility to make sure that the station staff is diverse.

Barnstone - To have more than a representative ratio of a group isn't fair either

Fertig - this proposal is very problematic, though there needs be some application of it's intent.

Spooner - supports intent. Pacifica needs to make sure it is diverse, but it would be better if demographics weren't the criteria.

[some back and forth and confusion etc...]

Lederer - mandate should go beyond race to include gender and sexuality as well

Straw Poll: That local board is mandated to make sure of staff diversity

9 for 1 abstain


Can we look forward to diversity of ideas, spirit, culture? Not necessarily. We're guaranteed diversity of skin color, gender and sexuality, whether spirit shines through or not. Uncle Sam's children remain the same -- externally defined.

Look at today's political landscape -- national, state, local. Can anyone say that gender and color truly determine content of character? Like anything else, the cause of peace and justice is easily co-opted by appearances. To even hope to approach its mission, Pacifica should seek substance over shadow.

Rafael Renteria once called for a raise in _consciousness_. Political consciousness or human consciousness? Without a rise in human consciousness, political consciousness, too often based on form, isn't raised and remains ... externally defined. Which is the age-old problem.

Capital and propaganda categorize people, and thereby divide, divert and conquer. Race in particular is convenient to class war. To help compensate race and gender inequities, state affirmative action in hiring influenced some corporations to follow suit for public relations. Increasingly, global finance requires natural affirmative action for international expertise. Color and gender are beginning to go less and less hand in hand with class; enough so that color and gender don't guarantee class interests.

One of the points agreed upon in the October 14, iPNB straw polls (unanimously with one abstention) was that "local board is mandated to make sure of staff diversity." Can this be done without directives for quotas based on physical attributes? The iPNB should be leery of garden paths that point away from inner attributes.

A rainbow from directives or vote manipulation will never substitute rainbows of programming, outreach and candidate choice, or even enhance them, as the unsentimental history of Pacifica has shown. When the inclusion of voices relies on exteriors, it risks becoming what it tries to correct. Separating and categorizing people by outward identity is the lie that cripples e pluribus unum and will be Pacifica's albatross.

The cruelty of outward identity is shown in Vittorio De Sica's post-war film, "Miracle in Milan." In a homeless camp outside of Milan, a woman, white, and a man, black, love each other. Strictures of the times prohibit even their meeting and talking. A benevolent spirit grants everyone in the camp one wish. The woman chooses to be black, the man, white. They rush to meet each other, and there they are again.

Robert Johnson


From: Carol Spooner
Date: Fri Oct 25, 2002 2:37 am
Subject: Re: [alliance] Re: Diversity Game

There is nothing about the "diversity game" that is limited to the question of race, gender, sexuality ... what is needed is for people of substance who desire to work towards peace, justice, civil rights, cultural richness ... to find their way to work together at Pacifica ... and for us to find such people of all races, genders, sexualities, nations, creeds & colors.


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