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Diversity in America: Keeping Government at a Safe Distanceby Peter H Schuck
Synopses & Reviews
America is the first society in history to make ethno-racial diversity an affirmative social ideal rather than viewing it as a fearful menace, as almost all other societies still do. Since the 1960s, America has pursued this ideal in many forms — not only to remedy past discrimination against minorities but also to increase diversity for its own sake.
It is high time for an accounting. How diverse are we now and what can we expect in the future? Why do we, unlike the rest of the world, think that diversity is desirable and that more of it is better? What risks does diversity pose? What are the roles of law, politics, and informal social controls in promoting diversity? How can we manage diversity better?
In this magisterial book, Peter H. Schuck explains how Americans have understood diversity, how we came to embrace it, how the government regulates it now, and how we can do better. He mobilizes a wealth of conceptual, historical, legal, political, and sociological analysis to argue that diversity is best managed not by the government but by families, ethnic groups, religious communities, employers, voluntary organizations, and other civil society institutions. Analyzing some of the most controversial policy arenas where politics and diversity intersect — immigration, multiculturalism, language, affirmative action, residential neighborhoods, religious practices, faith-based social services, and school choice — Schuck reveals the conflicts, trade-offs, and ironies entailed by our commitment to the diversity ideal. He concludes with recommendations to help us manage the challenge of diversity in the future.
"Some will dismiss Diversity in America as a footnote-laden apologia for the conservative cause garbed in full Establishment regalia...but Schuck isn't Chavez or Connerly, and his arguments need to be engaged. It's essential to begin thinking beyond the model of a generation ago, which assumes that the force of law rather than an appeal to what Schuck calls "genuineness" is the best way to manage diversity...Still, as Diversity in America acknowledges, it's hardly 'Kumbaya' by the campfire. Our embrace of differentness is a wary, contextual and complex matter...Schuck's analyses are provocative and complex." David L. Kirp, The Nation
"Schuck...sees diversity as a tremendous natural resource for American civic life. But through laws that restrict economic freedom and institutions that squelch energetic public discourse, he thinks the government has turned this great asset into a liability. Teachers and students can't always say what they want when they want because of constitutional restraints of religious speech in school, liability to lawsuits on a range of discrimination issues and the general timidity that has followed...The connections he makes between the familiar and the unexpected, and among left, right and center, make Diversity in America remarkably original." Peter Temes, New York Times
"A celebration and a dissection of diversity that is so insightful, so finely balanced, so fair, that it will frustrate the ideologically obsessed and gratify, enhearten and instruct everyone who wants to make America work." John T. Noonan, Jr., Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
"Peter Schuck has written the most comprehensive book to date on diversity, what about it might be good for society or alternatively bad for it, and how we might possibly resolve conflicts over diversity. This will be the most authoritative book available on the diversity issue and how it is played out in various policy areas. It is well-written and perfectly accessible, and very well-researched. Schuck seems to have missed nothing on the diversity debate and on the specific issues he takes up." Nathan Glazer, author of We Are All Multiculturalists Now
"Peter Shuck has done the scholarly community and perhaps the nation a favor in writing this book. He has written a far-reaching analysis of the basic operating value or principle of an increasing number of American institutions-diversity. There is no other book that offers such a thorough analysis. Moreover, and more importantly, Schuck does not rehearse the familiar arguments. His position is iconoclastic, and therefore interesting, courageous, and provocative." John Skrentny, author of The Minority Rights Revolution
diversity ideal. He concludes with recommendations to help us manage the challenge of diversity in the future.
In this magisterial book, Peter H. Schuck explains how Americans haveunderstood diversity, how they have come to embrace it, how the government regulates it now, andhow we can do better. He mobilizes a wealth of conceptual, historical, legal, political, andsociological analysis to argue that diversity is best managed not by the government but byfamilies, ethnic groups, religious communities, employers, voluntary organizations, and othercivil society institutions.
About the Author
Peter H. Schuck is Simeon E. Baldwin Professor of Law, Yale University.
Table of Contents
Part I: Thinking about Diversity
Part II: Managing Diversity
What Our Readers Are Saying