The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality

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9781250099334: The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality

“Michaels has written a bracing polemic that should quicken the debate over what diversity really means, or should mean, in academia and beyond.”―The New York Review of Books

If there’s one thing Americans agree on, it’s the value of diversity. Our corporations vie for slots in the Diversity Top 50, our universities brag about minority recruiting, and every month is Somebody’s History Month. But in this “eloquent” (Chicago Tribune) and “captivating” (Los Angeles Times) book, Walter Benn Michaels argues that our enthusiastic celebration of “difference” masks our neglect of America’s vast and growing economic divide.

When it was first published in 2006, The Trouble with Diversity provoked a firestorm of praise and condemnation―not only hailed as “genius” (The Economist), “cogent” (The New Yorker), and “impossible to disagree with” (The Washington Post) it was excoriated as a “wildly implausible” product of “the ‘shock and awe’ school of political argument” (Slate) and “Seething, misplaced, amnesiac resentment” (The Nation). Now, a decade later, Michaels offers a new afterword on how our regime of equal-opportunity exploitation has only intensified. Magnificently iconoclastic, he demonstrates that commitments to diversity fail to offer a premise for social justice and in fact legitimize the economic forces that drive inequality rather than offering a resistance or even a critique. Most importantly, he makes the case that we should pay less attention to the illusory distinction of culture, and more attention to the real discrepancies of class and wealth.

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Book Description:

If there’s one thing Americans agree on, it’s the value of diversity. Our corporations vie for slots in the Diversity Top 50, our universities brag about minority recruiting, and every month is Somebody’s History Month. But in this provocative new book, Walter Benn Michaels argues that our enthusiastic celebration of “difference” masks our neglect of America’s vast and growing economic divide. Affirmative action in schools has not made them more open, it’s just guaranteed that the rich kids come in the appropriate colors. Diversity training in the workplace has not raised anybody’s salary (except maybe the diversity trainers’) but it has guaranteed that when your job is outsourced, your culture will be treated with respect.
With lacerating prose and exhilarating wit, Michaels takes on the many manifestations of our devotion to diversity, from companies apologizing for slavery, to a college president explaining why there aren’t more women math professors, to the codes of conduct in the new “humane corporations.” Looking at the books we read, the TV shows we watch, and the lawsuits we bring, Michaels shows that diversity has become everyone’s sacred cow precisely because it offers a false vision of social justice, one that conveniently costs us nothing. The Trouble with Diversity urges us to start thinking about real justice, about equality instead of diversity. Attacking both the right and the left, it will be the most controversial political book of the year.

About the Author:

Walter Benn Michaels is a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “One of the most influential Americanists of his generation” (The Chronicle of Higher Education), he is the author of Our America and has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, The Boston Globe, and n+1. He lives in Chicago.

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Book Description Picador USA, United States, 2016. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Anniversary. Language: English . Brand New Book. Michaels has written a bracing polemic that should quicken the debate over what diversity really means, or should mean, in academia and beyond. --The New York Review of Books If there s one thing Americans agree on, it s the value of diversity. Our corporations vie for slots in the Diversity Top 50, our universities brag about minority recruiting, and every month is Somebody s History Month. But in this eloquent (Chicago Tribune) and captivating (Los Angeles Times) book, Walter Benn Michaels argues that our enthusiastic celebration of difference masks our neglect of America s vast and growing economic divide. When it was first published in 2006, The Trouble with Diversity provoked a firestorm of praise and condemnation--not only hailed as genius (The Economist), cogent (The New Yorker), and impossible to disagree with (The Washington Post) it was excoriated as a wildly implausible product of the shock and awe school of political argument (Slate) and Seething, misplaced, amnesiac resentment (The Nation). Now, a decade later, Michaels offers a new afterword on how our regime of equal-opportunity exploitation has only intensified. Magnificently iconoclastic, he demonstrates that commitments to diversity fail to offer a premise for social justice and in fact legitimize the economic forces that drive inequality rather than offering a resistance or even a critique. Most importantly, he makes the case that we should pay less attention to the illusory distinction of culture, and more attention to the real discrepancies of class and wealth. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781250099334

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Book Description Picador USA, United States, 2016. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Anniversary. Language: English . Brand New Book. Michaels has written a bracing polemic that should quicken the debate over what diversity really means, or should mean, in academia and beyond. --The New York Review of Books If there s one thing Americans agree on, it s the value of diversity. Our corporations vie for slots in the Diversity Top 50, our universities brag about minority recruiting, and every month is Somebody s History Month. But in this eloquent (Chicago Tribune) and captivating (Los Angeles Times) book, Walter Benn Michaels argues that our enthusiastic celebration of difference masks our neglect of America s vast and growing economic divide. When it was first published in 2006, The Trouble with Diversity provoked a firestorm of praise and condemnation--not only hailed as genius (The Economist), cogent (The New Yorker), and impossible to disagree with (The Washington Post) it was excoriated as a wildly implausible product of the shock and awe school of political argument (Slate) and Seething, misplaced, amnesiac resentment (The Nation). Now, a decade later, Michaels offers a new afterword on how our regime of equal-opportunity exploitation has only intensified. Magnificently iconoclastic, he demonstrates that commitments to diversity fail to offer a premise for social justice and in fact legitimize the economic forces that drive inequality rather than offering a resistance or even a critique. Most importantly, he makes the case that we should pay less attention to the illusory distinction of culture, and more attention to the real discrepancies of class and wealth. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781250099334

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