Monday, October 6, 2003


I know many of you thought “diversity” was a sort of in-crowd, pop-culture buzzword like “girl power” or “the hip-hop nation,” but now that Justice O’Connor has found it in the Constitution (see Grutter v. Bollinger), I think it’s our job as Americans to embrace the idea, not only in our finer universities, but in public accommodations in general.

As we have learned from the halls of academe, setting different standards for different people is only a small part of what “diversity” means. Even more important, for maintaining self-esteem, is the celebration of group identity through, for example, black-only (or woman-only) faculty meetings, separate student orientation programs for Hispanic students, gay graduation ceremonies, and segregated dormitories. All these things can be found at our elite, and even not-so-elite, institutions of higher learning. It is our duty to import these lessons into our daily lives.

As a first step, I propose federal legislation, affecting all states and municipalities, requiring the replacement of public drinking fountains with “Diversity Fountains” intended to celebrate the unique richness of America’s ethnic, racial and sexual-orientation minorities. Where there is one fountain, there would now be five, each clearly labeled: “White,” “Black,” “Hispanic,” “Women,” and “Gay.”

Copyright 2003 Michael Kubacki