In an attempt to support minority groups, CUNY has proposed a new diversity plan that relies on the very stereotyping it hopes to discourage.
"Jewish" is a "new minority label" at New York City's university system, the New York Post reported on June 3, almost accurately. CUNY recently completed a "faculty diversity action plan" that included among the usual identity-based focus groups along with a Caucasian/White/Jewish group, created in response to complaints that Caucasian/White/Jews were "not as monolithic as some believe and this lack of understanding is reflected in subtle stereotyping."
Stop and think about this: Stereotyping attributes to individuals the presumed characteristics of their demographic groups. Stereotypes treat people as members of groups instead of individuals. So do diversity initiatives that organize people into identity groups. Logic suggests that CUNY faculty who feel victimized by stereotypes imposed on Caucasian/White/Jews should probably avoid Caucasian/White/Jewish groups (although by creating this group to fight stereotypes, they may have inadvertently undermined the stereotypical assumption that all Jews are smart).
I don't mean to join CUNY in singling out some of its Jewish faculty, who are hardly alone in seeking group identities and affiliations in order to defend against stereotyping or "unwelcoming behaviors." CUNY's diversity study promotes the perverse belief that identity groups undermine bias and stereotyping. It also implicitly endorses stereotyping, attributing particular "cognitive styles" or "intellectual outlooks" to particular groups. This is the essential incoherence at the heart of bureaucratic diversity initiatives: They combat stereotypes by relying on them.