Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Releases New Book on the Value of Diversity
This is the inaugural volume of a multiyear book series mounted by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to explore the value of our growing diversity for the American democratic project -- the enactment of individual and civil rights, the social and civic connections that unite a diverse polity into one (e pluribus unum), and the realization of full participation in the economy, in educational systems, in voting and the law and politics more generally, that undergirds prosperity and the legitimacy of our institutions.
While there is little doubt that diversity is here and growing (America will, for example, be a majority nonwhite nation by midcentury) and that many dimensions of difference (racial, ethnic, cultural heritage, class, regional, language, indigeneity, sexuality) characterize this diversity, there is reason to question at this ostensibly highly polarized time whether America can rise to the task of leveraging this diversity to meet our compelling interests to spur creativity, productivity and prosperity, as Kwame Anthony Appiah notes in his commentary.
Numbers alone will not suffice to turn the tide; it will take concerted dialogue, thoughtful analysis from many directions, honest questions and questioning, to move us as a nation toward envisioning our diversity as an opportunity, rather than as a threat to be managed. In this inaugural volume, the essays set the table, so to speak, for this much-needed dialogue, placing both our diversity and our compelling interests in context -- demographic, historical, social and economic...