Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Why do we believe in diversity and also dislike it?

Diversity literally means “turned into two” and is – in that context – the opposite of university, universe or universal (Quora). Multi-versity would be a better word for describing contemporary societies. In general, diversity (or multiversity) is fine with us as long as it doesn’t bother us. This is also known as the Not In My BackYard (NIMBY) syndrome (eg, BritannicaHuffPost).

An (alleged but unsupported) quote from the Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) says: “There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.” Perhaps this quote explains why we do believe in diversity but simultaneously dislike it.

Evolutionary psychology taught us that we fear strangers as they might be spies from a hostile tribe. Seeing strangers forewarned us about a possible or imminent attack (my 2015 blog). Although hundreds of thousands of years have passed, human firmware (my 2016 blog) still contains that notion. Islam terrorist attacks in the West have recalled that ancient fear.

In the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, poverty caused human (mass) migration (eg, European settlers). This caused ethnic ghettos (eg, ChinatownLittle Italy) which were still successful, despite the lack of urban integration, and despite ethnic tensions (eg, Irish vs Italians).

World War 2 caused a mass displacement of (European) refugees. Post-WW2 globalisation caused a surge in economic migrants who were needed and wanted in the local workforce. Perhaps, this successful economic migration caused a political belief in diversity: strangers were welcome. Also see my blogs on Needs, Wants & Beliefs.

In the late 1900s, the political belief in diversity did not include integration efforts for new economic migrants (eg, language courses). An economic downturn created a new type of ghettos of the “unneeded, unwanted and unbelieved” (my 2016 blog) like the Amsterdam Bijlmer, French banlieues, the Bronx (NYC). Some were successfully turned-around, others turned into criminal hotspots. As a result, strangers were no longer welcome.

The recent Middle-East religious and tribal conflicts created a mass displacement of refugees. Most were housed in neighbouring countries, like Turkey. Many also went to Europe and received a hostile welcome, despite some official declarations. European housing, jobs and welfare were already under pressure from continued austerity following the recession of 2008 and onwards.

The 20th century political belief in diversity turned into a 21st century political dislike for diversity and its multi-cultural society, following a long economic recession. A surge in Nationalism was the result. People may still like the notion of diversity but that belief quickly fades when diversity hits them in their wallets through a lack of housing and jobs, as well as diminishing welfare.

The Four Freedoms of the European Union (ie, free movement of goods, money, people and services) are being tested in the 21st century and are already reshaping its outward borders (eg, Brexit).

On 6 June 2018, the German Chancellor stated: “I can be very frank and open and say that if we are unable to come up with a common response to migration challenges the very foundations of the EU will be at stake. To begin with it will be freedom of movement that will be questioned.” (FT, my 9 June blog)

Strani Amori (1994) by Laura Pausini – artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise


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