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Lennard Davis

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Have a Little Diversity With Your Chicken Sandwich: Chick-fil-A and the Contradictions of the Diversity Agenda

Posted: 08/03/2012 3:34 pm

A big argument against those who want to shut down Chick-Fil-A branches at university campuses is the diversity issue. Chick-fila-A's CEO has contributed to anti-gay organizations and has come out publicly against gay marriage. In response to such a protest seeking to close a Chick-fil-A branch on the University of Louisville campus, the president and provost responded by saying they would take no action because their university "is an institution that treasures diversity. Our strength is in the experiences and values we share with those who may be different from us. We also are a university that steadfastly supports free speech - even if that speech goes against our values. We respect an individual's right to disagree. We respect an individual's right to choose where they spend their money....We as a university will continue to stand for diversity and to celebrate our differences."

There is quite a bit of twisting and turning in the administration's statement. If the general idea behind diversity is to prevent discrimination against groups like those in the GLBT quartet, then how can you tolerate someone using money generated at a university to oppose the rights of those groups? In other words, it's hard to see how it is possible to celebrate the difference of being gay while at the same time celebrating those groups who are anti-gay and against gay marriage.

The problem is not that diversity in itself is not a worthy issue, but that it is not a very well thought out paradigm. If it simply means, include all types and varieties of humans, then could easily include rapists, neo-Nazis, and Holocaust deniers. There has to be some way of evaluating which groups get to fit into the diversity paradigm and which do not. Obviously groups who wish to harm or limit other groups should not be given university approval. So a racist group or a male-supremicist group should not be able to use university property to raise funds or operate a business.

Likewise, a group that wants to limit the civil rights of US citizens should not be permitted to operate on university property. Since Chick-fil-A is openly advocating the limitation of the rights of gay citizens, they cannot possibly fit into a diversity paradigm. Therefore, they should not be allowed to operate with impunity on the campus of the University of Louisville, or any other institution of higher education--especially those funded by taxpayer dollars.

 

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