Kiarash Zarezadeh ("Race, sex outdated measures of diversity," column, Dec. 7)†and I agree diversity is essentially a desirable goal, no matter how you define it. In a nation governed by a representative model, there should be representation of all views. Itís how we get there that I think he and I part ways.
I accept the notion that, in many cases, this has drifted into formalized quotas. But that argument is only part of the issue and should not be the only basis for thinking about our local efforts.
One must consider the effects of long-term minority life on those who were victims of bias. Status as a minority easily leads to a sense that, regardless of oneís personal competencies, the cards are stacked against fair evaluation. That culturally conditioned view is independent of the reality of how employers make their decisions. The difference lies in what organizations may or may not do versus the perception, or expectation, that applying for a position is doomed from the start.
In the context of Zarezadehís column, I would view the effort to recruit more interest and more applications for positions in local government serves two positive goals ó increasing the amount of nonracial, nongender, diversity in local governance and presenting our community as one that rises above petty bias and seeks to expand the available pool of talent applying for these positions.
The balancing act is to keep the quota philosophy out of the process while raising awareness that this is a community that values the individual. To that end, I think the recruitment of good talent serves all of us. The amount of funds devoted to it is tiny in comparison to the long-term benefits for all.