Letter: Diversity Committees — noble cause, questionable need

Posted 9/9/21

I am troubled and do not understand the emerging existence of groups in our area known as “Diversity Committees,” who are seeking an overseeing role in the functions of …

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Letter: Diversity Committees — noble cause, questionable need

Posted

I am troubled and do not understand the emerging existence of groups in our area known as “Diversity Committees,” who are seeking an overseeing role in the functions of government. My understanding is that these groups would, at this time, provide an advisory role to ensure that in the management of government there is no discrimination against groups who have traditionally encountered discrimination.

Eventually, with their growth via media exposure and thus political influence, these groups will probably be legislated to become a permanent overseeing body at all levels of government.

I have had discussion with friends and people I have day to day interactions who belong to these traditionally identified discriminated groups about local government and business administration. Never has there been any discussions where they have identified discrimination as being the cause of not receiving fair and equal government or business services. Perceived poor resource management decisions and questionable individual incompetence in government or business? Yes. But discrimination? No.

There is no doubt in my mind discrimination does take place elsewhere outside Bristol County, but where is the evidence of systematic discrimination in our local institutions?

The ideals of these diversity committees are noble. Discrimination for any reason is ugly and should not exist in any form. We already have the courts/legislation banning this type of behavior, and we have the press to identify these types of  incidents. The American Civil Liberties Union does an excellent job prosecuting discrimination.

In our Republic we have checks and balances between the Administration, Judicial and Elected Representative bodies to stop excesses by the minority. A Diversity Committee overseeing government would effectively be a fourth level of government.

Would Diversity Committee members be appointed or elected? If appointed, how would they deal with an application from a person who does not hold the same ideological views as themselves; or in a more difficult case, a person who has been discriminated against in government or business because they hold views and/or belong to an organization that discriminates.

What will the value of our vote be if the majorities vote for a popular legislation or policy can be overturned under the guise of ‘discrimination’?  In other words, there must be checks and balances to ensure there never exists the equally ugly corruption outcomes of cronyism and nepotism.

I support any individuals’ efforts to stop discrimination wherever it exists through the identified organizations listed in this article. Where discrimination on an individual basis exists outside of government and business activities, I choose to  avoid entities and individuals holding discriminatory views. I also support the Constitution of the United States, which protects the rights of an individual to have discriminatory views, but I do not have to accept these views. It is  my choice how I live my life, so long as my choices do not infringe on the individual rights of someone else.

I  also want my vote to count and support the laws and policies of the majority, even if the majority’s vote results in legislation I personally do not agree with.

If today there exists provable evidence of systematic discrimination in our local institutions, then we may need a Diversity Committee. Without this evidence, a Diversity Committee would seem to be an entity with a cause but have no reason to oversee our local  institutions.

Noel Hewitt
Bristol

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.