Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Today (Tuesday) was convocation at St. Cloud State University in central Minnesota. The president made his opening remarks and then we were to receive diversity training. The speaker conducted some rather innocuous exercises that he felt illustrated how people were different. He seemed quite reasonable -- we've had diversity trainers in the past who were as agitated as this guy was calm. I was actually impressed. Then he runs through how we as an institution should "manage diversity". This meant to him changing work rules so that diversity is a goal, and so work rules would not allow someone to put up a racy "tool and die calendar" at the office. (I assume he meant some variant of the Pirelli calendars.) And then he says, "If your office mate wants to listen to Rush Limbaugh -- you know, he's one of those dittoheads -- and wants to listen to Limbaugh, he can, but here are your headphones." (I was taking notes on my laptop as he spoke. I typed it as I heard it.) So the comparison is someone looking at scantily clad women on a calendar to someone listening to your radio show. I just shook my head, and thought well, the guy's a liberal, and taking a cheap shot at Rush is all in a day for liberals. I let it go.Now I confess to not being Rush's biggest fan, largely because his command of economics pales before that of his own guest host Walter Williams. But it struck me that the man felt perfectly safe saying this. Here he had discussed (in the afternoon session) how we won't speak out about racist or sexist comments unless there's a person of color or a woman in the room, but did anyone speak out against this rather crass treatment of conservatives?
But in a separate session this afternoon, he does it again. He refers to students listening to your show again as "dittoheads" and says "you know, so that they don't think, they just follow whatever Rush says." Laughter around the room. What I thought was a throw-away line appears to be a regular part of his training. Conservatives are not thoughtful, no better than visitors to a peepshow, just follow the script.
Does part of his definition of diversity include "diversity of thought"? Hell, no.