Diversity: empowering some, silencing others?Monday 10 October, 20.30 - 22.00 , De Balie Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 10, 1017 RR, Amsterdam Battle of Ideas Europe
More and more often, members of minority groups insist on greater representation in the media, politics and the corporate boardroom. This rising self-confidence is something to celebrate. But might the call for diversity leave us more divided in the end?
The advocates of diversity challenge the privileges of white, middle-class men, giving a voice to groups that have long been silenced. Unwittingly, this has turned public debate into a minefield. When speaking about sensitive topics, an insult may be more quickly felt than actually meant.
This, in turn, has led to a backlash, with some behaving in a deliberately politically incorrect way, inflaming tensions. These critics are annoyed by what they believe to be a false claim of victimhood. They do not see the demand for respect as a way to empower oppressed groups but as a plea to feel pity and shut up others. Are they right? Is there really a ‘victim culture’?
Once, the disadvantaged argued that whether you were gay, a woman or black should not be a barrier when it comes to participating in society and politics. Today, it is argued that precisely because of these differences, people should be able to participate. Do they claim an equal say or a special status? Do we run the risk of setting up dividing lines between ourselves, making it harder for us to transcend our differences? What does all this mean for the way we think about politics and citizenship?
(See the DeBalie website for the Dutch version of this introduction.)
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postdoctoral fellow, Ghent University; author, Illusions for the Advanced. Why Truth is Always Better
political anthropologist, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam
director, Academy of Ideas; panellist, BBC Radio 4's Moral Maze; author, I Find That Offensive
professor of Citizenship and Diversity, the Hague University of Applied Sciences
essayist, philosopher; founder and editor-in-chief Dutch libertarian website, Vrijheid Zonder Maar
science and technology director, Academy of Ideas; convenor, IoI Economy Forum
journalist; curator, Tegengeluid
Why we all love minorities (and want to be one), Maarten Boudry, October 2016
'Privilege is invisible to those who have it': engaging men in workplace equality, Fiona Smith, Guardian, June 2016
Explaining white privilege to a broke white person, Gina Crosley-Corcoran, Huffington Post, August 2014
I hate to break it to feminists, but ‘white male privilege’ is a myth, Brendan O'Neill, Spectator, January 2016
It's time to boost ethnic minority representation in the media, Samantha Asumadu, Guardian, July 2013