Response to "Don't Blame Diversity for Distrust" NYT Article

As an international consultant who partners with schools, educational and arts organizations, and foundations on issues of cultural competency and global citizenship, a large part of my work is dedicated to deconstructing the ways in which individuals differentially understand the nature and aims of diversity.

More often than not, the notion that "diversity is the problem," often stems from more deeply rooted issues around equality vs. equity or a lack of understanding/awareness that the United States does not truly represent a meritocracy. While hard work is often part of the equation for success, concrete quantifiable empirical measures find that a number of variables mediate and inform an individual's ability to flourish. All this to say that I was initially intrigued by this article's premise but became increasingly disillusioned by successive flaws in the overall analysis. 

Check out the article here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/22/opinion/sunday/dont-blame-diversity-for-distrust.html?smid=fb-share&_r=1

My primary critique concerns the authors' diluting the true nature of differential levels of trust among Black and Latinos relative to Whites: systemic and institutional racism. I also find that the throughout the article the authors confound and conflate racial and socioeconomic diversity, often characterizing Black and Latino communities as a monolith of low SES members. Do Blacks and/or Latino from higher SES groups report higher levels of trust in (racially) diverse communities? Or, as I suspect, do they report similar differential levels of trust, relative to Whites, informed by institutional and systemic racism. Also, where are Asians, the largest growing ethnic group, in this analysis? Is the assumption that Asians would have similarly high levels of trust as Whites? And to what extent does region and SES inform their levels of trust, particularly as Asian representation becomes increasingly socioeconomically diverse?

Ultimately, the most salient insight that I gleaned from this article is an affirmation of the critical need to continue efforts to dismantle institutional and systemic racism, which are inextricably linked to socioeconomics in the US. Moreover, fostering racially diverse neighborhoods will require an intentionality to reconcile longstanding racial and ethnic differences, while also providing meaningful opportunities to cultivate trust. Finally, the onus of fostering trust must be distributed among all races and ethnicities, including Whites.