Diversity Training

America was founded on the principle that every person deserves respect and equal treatment. While our constitution incorporated an unfortunate compromise by permitting slave ownership in the South, which was fixed after our civil war, many scars remain. Each generation needs to be taught our proper principles and we should do our best to reflect them in our dealings with our fellow citizens of all races and creeds.

As Tom Palmer put it some years ago: “The recognition of individuality, of the uniqueness of each individual, is commonplace in all cultures…. Each human person is unique…. What is less commonly grasped is that we all share something morally significant and that therefore all human beings have legitimate claims to rightful treatment by each other, that is, to respect for their human rights.”  “Freedom is the birthright of all humanity”

I assume that diversity training is an attempt to provide such understanding and to endeavor to remove the remaining scars of historical prejudices. That is certainly an important and laudable goal. But perhaps the new generation would benefit more from a forward-looking, positive approach rather than stressing atonement for an unchangeable past. Diversity is a fun and enriching phenomenon.

Let’s learn more about the cultural and historical backgrounds of our fellow citizens and how and why they or their ancestors came here. Let’s sample their food and music. Let’s rejoice in the diversity around us. Most cab drivers in the DC area are immigrants or immigrants once removed. I enjoy asking them where they or their parents are from. Most of them enjoy sharing such information. Every now and then one of them will reply with sarcasm that they are from Arlington or some such place. And I reply, “Yes, yes, but where did your ancestors come from? We all came from somewhere else” (overlooking our natives).

Diversity is more than a moral duty. It is a unique blessing of the American experience.

Author: Warren Coats

I specialize in advising central banks on monetary policy and the development of the capacity to formulate and implement monetary policy.  I joined the International Monetary Fund in 1975 from which I retired in 2003 as Assistant Director of the Monetary and Financial Systems Department. While at the IMF I led or participated in missions to the central banks of over twenty countries (including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgystan, Moldova, Serbia, Turkey, West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Zimbabwe) and was seconded as a visiting economist to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (1979-80), and to the World Bank's World Development Report team in 1989.  After retirement from the IMF I was a member of the Board of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority from 2003-10 and of the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review from 2010-2017.  Prior to joining the IMF I was Assistant Prof of Economics at UVa from 1970-75.  I am currently a fellow of Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise.  In March 2019 Central Banking Journal awarded me for my “Outstanding Contribution for Capacity Building.”  My recent books are One Currency for Bosnia: Creating the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina; My Travels in the Former Soviet Union; My Travels to Afghanistan; My Travels to Jerusalem; and My Travels to Baghdad. I have a BA in Economics from the UC Berkeley and a PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago. My dissertation committee was chaired by Milton Friedman and included Robert J. Gordon.

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