Equal Opportunity Gets Slammed Dunked

Barb Wire

Recently, a big deal was made out of the fact that Jason Collins, a professional basketball player nearing retirement, came out and announced he was “gay.”  Congratulations and accolades abounded.  Collins was subsequently awarded a ten day contract with the Brooklyn Nets, but the fact of the matter is Mr. Collins was never all that great a player in the NBA.  He was traded five times in 12 years and his stats are marginal at best.  Over the course of his career he averaged a meager 3.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per contest.  In his first game with the Nets, he managed to rack up five fouls in eleven minutes while scoring zero points with only two rebounds.  An honest interpretation of the facts here begs the question is Collins receiving the opportunity to continue playing in the NBA because of his athletic prowess or because of his “sexual orientation”?

I believe our society and culture should be blind when it comes to judging people based on their race, ethnicity, religion, and “sexual orientation” as much as possible and practical.  The point of practicality here is that we should all be judged equally based upon our talents.  That means we should neither be denied or promoted based upon anything extrinsic to our abilities, talents, experience and value as it relates to the opportunity before us.

However, for the past several decades, our nation has had an extraordinary focus on achieving diversity.  This endeavor served to eliminate obvious abusive and offensive patterns of discrimination against women and minorities in a world once dominated by white males.  There is virtually no area of our culture and our economy that has not been positively influenced over time by this movement, but all things have their limits.  Too much of anything in excess can be harmful and I believe the obsession on diversity reached a zenith in our society years ago and it is now having a deleterious impact on our nation’s progress, our sense of fairness, and even common sense.

Achieving and maintaining standards of excellence has been a casualty in many areas of our society as a result of not placing reasonable limitations on achieving diversity, not the least of which is in the halls of academia.  Truth be told, there are entire departments, devoted to various fields of study, that wouldn’t even exist today were it not for our obsession with diversity.  This amounts to nothing less than a colossal waste of resources.

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The pendulum in America has swung so far as it pertains to our goal of eliminating discrimination that we are now actively discriminating against people with superior talents and capabilities in order to promote diversity.   Nobody should be induced to hire or promote somebody in order to fill a quota, make a statement, or achieve “balance” at the expense of another who is more qualified and equally deserving of the opportunity.  It is simply not fair to all concerned and it actually undermines the belief that we are all created equally.

First published in the Santa Barbara News Press.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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