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Why does diversity become division and division become destruction?

by Mark P. McDonald  |  April 16, 2013  |  2 Comments

That was the thought running through my head this morning. The more I look around, the more I see what was a diversity of opinion, ideas, backgrounds, ethnicities, religion etc. become division and destruction.

Diversity has become division in so many areas, social, lifestyle, politics based on class warfare, geo political conflicts, religions wars, economic and military aggression, red/blue states, north/south, high/low income.  Rather then recognizing the diversity as a desirable fact of the human condition, it seems like we are creating artificial divisions to define “us” as “not them.”

Division is a convenient reason to avoid tough choices, to come together, to give and take, to collaborate and to see the world from as broad a set of viewpoints as possible.   You see that in all of the spheres mentioned above and frankly the strength in diversity, which should be a hallmark of a free society, is too readily becoming division and a means of control and coercion.

Division is one of the ways I am thinking about in terms of what happened in Boston and why someone(s) would attack an essentially human and positive activity.  The Boston Marathon runners, everyone, represented the best aspects of the human condition, discipline, sacrifice, working toward a personal goal that was more than themselves, an achievement, etc.  The people at the finish line were encouraging them on, celebrating their determination and recognizing what they were accomplishing.  There was no ‘them’ at the finish line.

An attack in Boston, shootings in a school, bombs in Bagdad, London, Madrid, Africa, etc., each requires dividing and separating yourself from the world to a degree that destroys meaning and value for all of us.

This is not a naïve view.  The world is not perfect, nor the people in it.  There will be competition and disagreement.  We all play a part in that.  We all compete, we all have disagreements, we all advocate for our beliefs and values.  That is what diversity is all about and that is good.

Diversity does not have to mean division that creates destruction.  That only happens when we deny the diversity innate in the human experience and decide that being different means being less.

There is no ‘us and them’ …  only WE.

Worldwide Everybody

That is what I am thinking this morning.  What’s on your mind?

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Category: personal-observation  

Tags: personal-musing  personal-observation  

Mark McDonald, Ph.D., is a Vice President and Fellow Emeritus in Gartner for General Managers Program.

Thoughts on Why does diversity become division and division become destruction?

  1. In what I believe was his only major media interview with a western correspondent, Osama Bin Laden stated unequivocally that both military combatants and civilians were considered to be open targets of his movement.

    We saw that on 9.11 in the US. We have seen the same pattern in the UK, and in Spain, and in Bali and in Mumbai and now Boston.

    The blog post above raises an important question about embracing abstraction layer definitions of ‘diversity’, and how they can lead to division and ultimately destruction. Should the Boston attack prove to be the beginning of a wider wave of violence against American civilians, this conversation needs to go mainstream……….. fast.

    The author has done the community a service by raising this issue in this way this quickly.

  2. Mark P. McDonald says:


    Thank you for reading the blog and considering its intent.


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