BlogaBarbara

Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Diversity Brings Out the Turtle in Us

"Diversity, at least in the short run," he writes, "seems to bring out the turtle in all of us."

With apologies to my fellow blogger and Daily Sound columnist, The Conservative Turtle, Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam says in a new study that diversity in communities may not make us stronger. In a large study forwarded to me from a frequent reader, he found that the more diverse a community, the fewer people voted in elections or volunteered for charity.

Counter-intuitive to most of us, the article in the Boston Globe asks what happens when a liberal scholar uncovers an inconvenient truth? In a nutshell, the "diversity paradox" says we become more insulated and alone as our communities get more diverse. Putnam admits there are many more factors that could contribute to this but what does it say about the work many activists, non-profits and local governments have done over many years?

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28 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see the bumper stickers now: "Celebrate homogenousness!"

12/11/2007 6:27 AM  
Anonymous eight santa barbara said...

Love that bumper sticker idea-- not because I agree with it, but because it just sounds ridiculous enough to be funny.


I wonder what impact this would have for the Measure A folks? Is diversity in Santa Barbara a factor in municipal elections?

I wonder, as well, if district elections in the City would make a difference? Would people get out and vote if they knew they were voting for a neighbor and with their neighbors (and let's face it, Santa Barbara's neighborhoods are fairly segregated) who were just like them?

12/11/2007 9:22 AM  
Anonymous smart growth sucks said...

the same thing occurs in Smart growth.
the proponents of smart growth want you to believe that their social engineering of FORCING people to live vertically in a dense urban core next to a transit center leads to making us stronger.

Several recently completed studies uncovered an inconvenient truth that people prefer to live in suburbs, are happier living in suburbs, get involved In their community more, vote more, and volunteer for charity more.

Conversely when folks are forced to live densely in vertical multistory buildings with diverse neighbors they become much more isolated and alone. part of this is because there is significantly more crime when people are packed in close quarters like they are in smart growth.

Smart growth is the biggest oxymoron ever invented. Smart growth is nothing more than another word for DENSE growth. Smart growth is nothing more than significant population growth. Its an attempt at social engineering by a misguided few to turn every town in america into another new Your city.

It is a DFACT that the vast majority of Santa barbarans like our beautiful city just the way it is and don't want to change it into another new york.

Smart growth is the opposite of living within our resources. Smart growth is the opposite of being sustainable. smart growth is packing a much bigger carbon footprint into our boundary. All these bigger buildings use more energy and take more materials.

Now changing the subject slightly, and those who don't like what I'm about to say please don't let it detract from the validity of my previous words above.

Build it and they will come. By providing more housing in California it allows another 1,000,000 illegal alien immigrants to come EACH YEAR. Don't build and they can't come because there is no place for them to live. Being at the very bottom of the barrel they can't outbid a real American citizen for the housing .
Smart growth is just another way of forcing each city to provide housing for the millions of illegal alien immigrants to come and destroy our community. THAT ( illegals) kind of diversity we don't need or want! So don't built it and THEY can't come, but will have to stay home where they belong.

12/11/2007 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Makes sense. Birds of a feather flock together. This "diversity paradox" or "inconvenent truth" is a blip on the screen in time. In Santa barbara it is Latin origins, etc. In Los Angeles its Asians, etc. No one questions those diverse European accents you hear about everywhere. We have no way to go back to our less diverse origins and certainly no way to send anyone back "to where they came from." So regardless of this new study results it is time to evolve from our prehistoric conservative shell. Xenophobia is not a goal to strive for but it is the conservatives who first seem to get their intestines in a bunch over anything out of the ordinary like a mutant skin color, unusual manner of speaking, a lilt in ones walk, scarf over ones head, etc.

12/11/2007 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Diversity is WAY overrated.

It's just another way of saying"Live with and provide for for the poor" , because they are way too lazy and good for nothing to take care of themselves.

We don't give em a new Mercedez Benz so why would we give them a place to live in a luxury high end resort town like like Santa Barbara, hope Ranch, or Montecito? Let them move to Fresno or Diamond Bar.

12/11/2007 1:38 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

Let me get back
Let me get back
Let me get baaaaack
Baby, where I come fra_um

Ooo Yeah
Ooo Ooo Yeah_ah

Zoso rules

12/11/2007 10:53 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

"certainly no way to send anyone back "to where they came from."

Oh yes there is. Think about the LA Riots in reverse...who do you think will win?

Seeing the National Guard is preoccupied "over there", it just might be the perfect storm..."Posse Comitatus", babies

Think it can't happen?

"You say you want a revolution?"

12/12/2007 12:01 AM  
Anonymous mixed blood said...

Aren't humans partly tribal? 50,000 years ago we lived in small groups and had murderous hunting parties where we killed neighboring tribes and dragged off their women.

Some tribes in South America and Indonesia still live that way.

It takes all kinds of modern intelligence and evolution for us to master our urges to return to tribalism... the more amazing thing is how infrequent Turks v. Armenians, holocausts, Khmer Rouge, Rwanda, etc. are. If our tribal urges had not died away, the world would be a lot more bloody.

This paradox is just a vestige of our tribal nature. Oddly enough I think all the emphasis on maintaining minority identity is too. Again, the amazing thing is the huge increase in interracial marriage. Eventually our diversity will just be like seasoning, but the main course will be unity.

12/12/2007 4:28 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

It has been long recognized by political scientists that the more homogeneous a society is the more stable it is. In fact, one of the factors recently sited for the economic success of Denmark's socialist political system is the general homogeneity of their society. That said, we each wake up in the morning and go out to live in the society we have rather than the one we might want. Consequently, tolerance of diversity is essential to living in peace and harmony with one's neighbors. While we do not have to artificially create diversity where it does not exist (and it may be ill advised to conduct such social experiments) we do have to adapt effectively to diversity when we find ourselves living in it. Let's all just chill and realize that, ultimately, no other person is exactly like me anyway and it is unreasonable to expect everyone to be me. Such a world would not only be unreasonable to expect but would also be boring to live in.

12/12/2007 7:38 AM  
Blogger MCConfrontation said...

While diversity may not exactly be perversity, I am glad you've pointed to this study and its "inconvenient truth." The money that California alone spends on multi-language education and informational materials is staggering. Do we really need instructions on how to vote or get your drivers license in 22 different languages? For the folks who like to point to the founding fathers and how they never intended for anything like the Patriot Act to be enacted, they're quick to jump on MY civil liberties and spend my tax dollars on teaching the Spanish kids how to do their Geometry in Espanol, and to teach Vietnamese how to drive here in their native language. Why can't they learn our language, which is English? If I go to Korea, I'm not going to get by on English alone, so why do we make concessions for them when they come here?

Borders, language, culture, baby.

12/12/2007 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SCREW DIVERSITY.

I am happy without it.

12/12/2007 9:14 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga said...

If you will all go to this site and watch and listen to this internet production from a very interesting Korean artist, you will understand something more of the false choice in cultural diversity. I like to think about 'cosmopolitanism' as defined in the 18th century.

So here's the link, just find a hot spot on the screen and click. (Sara: Why can't you set this up to enter hot links?)

http://www.yhchang.com/COLUMBIA_START.html

12/12/2007 9:38 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noreiga said...

Don't forget to turn on your speakers to watch Korean Heavy Industries.

12/12/2007 9:39 AM  
Blogger jqb said...

"In a large study forwarded to me from a frequent reader"

How about sharing it with us so we can evaluate it for ourselves? Surely you are equating the Boston Globe article about the study with the study itself?

"Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam says in a new study that diversity in communities may not make us stronger. In a large study forwarded to me from a frequent reader, he found that the more diverse a community, the fewer people voted in elections or volunteered for charity."

That's quite a leap; there's more than one way to define strength. Does Putnam say that, or are you putting those words in his mouth? Such a claim doesn't appear in the BG article, and you seem to have completely ignored Putnam's actual views (e.g., "His paper argues strongly that the negative effects of diversity can be remedied, and says history suggests that ethnic diversity may eventually fade as a sharp line of social demarcation.")

"Counter-intuitive to most of us, the article in the Boston Globe asks what happens when a liberal scholar uncovers an inconvenient truth?"

It's interesting that people are taking Putnam's findings as "truth" while putting a conservative spin on his findings and ignoring his own words: Putnam puts the diversity challenge in a broader context by describing how social identity can change over time. Experience shows that social divisions can eventually give way to "more encompassing identities" that create a "new, more capacious sense of 'we,'" he writes.

"but what does it say about the work many activists, non-profits and local governments have done over many years?"

See Putnam's words above. You write as if the goal of the progressive work you refer to is diversity per se. Rather, it is to protect the rights and interests of all our diverse population, and to break down the sorts of tribalism, prejudice, etc. that creates the insulation, hopefully leading to the sort of "more capacious sense of 'we'" that Putnam refers to. And in fact such a more capacious sense among black/white, men/women, straight/gay has resulted from the various civil rights movements. But you seem to suggest that it is the move toward civil rights that is bad, rather than the continued resistance toward civil rights in some quarters. As Putnam writes, but you seem intent on ignoring:

"It would be equally unfortunate if an ahistorical and ethnocentric conservatism were to deny that addressing that challenge is both feasible and desirable."

12/12/2007 10:12 AM  
Blogger jqb said...

So regardless of this new study results it is time to evolve from our prehistoric conservative shell. Xenophobia is not a goal to strive for but it is the conservatives who first seem to get their intestines in a bunch over anything out of the ordinary like a mutant skin color, unusual manner of speaking, a lilt in ones walk, scarf over ones head, etc.

Yes, it is sad to see even Sara spinning this study as a justification of xenophobia and an opportunity to bash "the work many activists, non-profits and local government" when the author of the study takes quite the opposite view.

12/12/2007 10:24 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Sorry JQB -- I shouldn't have written it that way as I was referring to the article only. I'll be more careful next time.

I'm also not trying to spin for xenophobia -- the article was quite clear that the author of the study didn't know what to do -- thus my carried reference to the inconvenient truth. Did not meaqn to make it seem otherwise!

12/12/2007 6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't much like diversity either.

It's way over-rated!

Lets call a spade a spade and admit that diversity is just another way of encouraging more illegal alien immigrants to come here.

And we sure don't need any more of those illegals taking up our housing, and using up our resources, filling our schools with students that can't speak english so therefore ruin the education of our legal children, and bleeding all our hospitals, and other public service dry with their free services.


I say ship all 20,00,000 of em back to where they came and "good riddance to bad rubbish. "

12/13/2007 12:22 PM  
Blogger John Quimby said...

Promoting "diversity" is reactionary to a history we don't feel very good about.

Lincoln was right. We cannot escape history.

So why isn't it OK to make it easier for people to immigrate and become citizens? More Americans in the world would be a good thing.

This country once had many people who worked to accept and train immigrants toward citizenship in "settlement houses" throughout the country. Our goal was to help ease the transition of immigrants and produce full fledged American citizens. We promoted citizenship and we gave new immigrants an almost immediate stake in our democracy.

The reasons are in the Declaration of Independence. We recognized that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.

And yet we are now devoted to alienating each other and limiting the rights of those who risk everything to come to us.

Today we accept immigrants and natural citizens by promoting their "cultural diversity" as something that sets them apart from others, rather than helping them to seek, identify and promote the things that unite us all as a free people. No matter who they are, where they came from or which generation they represent, that IS the American magic.

Isn't that a more worthy goal than seeking to define what divides us?

When I travel abroad I am an American. Period. Only Americans Balkanize themselves with hyphenated gibberish.

12/13/2007 8:11 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

DJ, I think that's your phone

RIIIINNNGG
RIIIINNNGG
RIIIINNNGG

Go save a life

Being connected 24/7 to someone...

Freaks

12/13/2007 8:47 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

"More Americans in the world would be a good thing."

More immigrants that actually wanted to be Americans would be a good thing too. As Prez Vincente Fox said "Mexico is wherever a Mexican is"

Certainly we all can enjoy the spice of life that diversity brings but the specific problem we have currently is one of overdose.

You can't point to the past and say it was good then and it should be good now, regardless of the consequences.

It is self evident that new immigrant pops tend to cluster together and shut out the "Americans" in just the same way. The problem is excerbated by our wrongheaded attempts to assimilate them them with tax payer financed interpreters and multi lingual teachers and all the other support beuracracies that are required.

One only has to look at the prison population to see there is something gone seriously wrong here.

The point made in "the study" about densification leading to isolation and withdrawl from community level volunteerism is a "discovery" that we all knew viscerally was true.

It is why many of us fight so hard to keep density low as possible in our little corner of the Balkins.

"Only Americans Balkanize themselves with hyphenated gibberish."

Right, everyone else in the world uses AK-47s...Praise God and pass the ammo.


"It would be equally unfortunate if an ahistorical and ethnocentric conservatism were to deny that addressing that challenge is both feasible and desirable."

Just as long as the treatment doesn't kill the patient. This is typical Ivory Tower thinking. If the social liberati of Europe is choking on it, why should we be expected to do much better?

Hell, we have enough to deal with keeping Texas, Florida, and the Religeous Nuts in line.

12/13/2007 11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people just don't get it.

California is full of people to its capacity of its resources including water.
We simply don't have the resources or infrastructure including housing, public services such as schools and hospitals and our road and highway system ( read congestion gridlock) to double in population.


So please lets stop the illegals from moving here and ruining our quality of life. This kind of "diversity we are better of without.

We have laws on the boks . It's time to start enforcing them and deporting all the illegals. Our country will be a better place.

12/14/2007 7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have nothing against "diversity",
but, PLEASE, lets all start speaking only english.


NO MORE SPANISH TRANSLATION.

12/14/2007 7:13 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

In other words, gang crime is surging just as other violent crime is decreasing. And unlike other categories of crime, gangs and gang-related crime are spreading to formerly safe middle-class communities, or, “to a neighborhood near you,” says the report’s author, civil rights attorney Constance Rice.


In Los Angeles, law enforcement officials now warn that they have arrived at the end of their ability to contain gangs to poor minority and immigrant hot zones.

“This is the monster, this is what drives people’s fears,” says LAPD Deputy Chief Charles Beck.

Read it and weep:

http://www.laweekly.com/news/news/la-gangs-nine-miles-and-spreading/17861/

12/14/2007 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SA-1
you are o.k.

12/14/2007 12:34 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

Sorry but here's some more cuz I'm worried you're not paying attention to the facts:

The accelerating current of gang violence is colliding with a growing wave of Hispanic migration from Mexico and Central America into the United States. Hispanic gangs now dominate the hardcore narcotics business nationwide, and they are physically pushing historically entrenched black gangs out of their territories.

"According to the FBI, gangs are showing up and spreading in suburban and rural America, places that have no experience with street gangs and organized crime, and police who don’t know how to fight it."

(Maybe we could try police sponsered basketball games...think of all the overtime pay they can make...)

"A few years ago, officers responding to a call to Nickerson Gardens found a young Bounty Hunter who had lit a dog on fire."

Hmmm...Sound familiar? I wonder if they froze the dog first. You know like that adorable little custom that we all recognise as just a bit of fun loving diversity.

"Police call them “wangsters.” Mostly, they traffic in what they think is cool about gangs, the sort of young white men of means and options who go to upscale Manhattan private schools and wear baggy pants and talk ghetto."

Does this sound your kid??

"Once migrant gang members claim virgin drug territory for themselves, L.A.-style gang chaos and murder is inevitable."

God Forbid we should legalize non- drug company drugs to take the profit motive away...How would the "Old Cracker" gang make their money?

“There’s an analogy to modern terror organizations,” says the Rand Corporation’s Jack Riley. “The members are not persuadable in any regular sense.”

Again with the negative waves, Moriarity. I'm sure basketball games and interpreters will work, we're betting John Quimby's life on it.

"Some Los Angeles gangs are strictly robbery crews, others jack cars, Vietnamese gangs specialize in identity theft, Russian and Armenian gangs do mostly extortion and human trafficking."

"Diversity" at it's best, I guess. Lest you think we're just picking on Latinos

12/14/2007 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, diversity is sure overrated.

12/15/2007 12:46 PM  
Anonymous diversity will ruin your life said...

Please, no more people in Santa Barbara.
Our city is built out and is now at full carrying capacity.
It's so very nice just the way it is.
Any more will just ruin our quality of life.

12/21/2007 8:08 PM  
Anonymous no bleeding heart said...

Diversity is nothing more than being politically correct.

There is no real substance or benefit in it.

It's what being a bleeding heart socialist is all about.
I want no part of it, thank you very much.

12/22/2007 1:14 PM  

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