Does diversity mean assimilation?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


This article examines attitudes toward diversity at an academic institution. Research participants indicated their support for various forms of diversity in response to closed-ended questions and then described what the word 'diversity' meant to them. By comparing numerical data with open-ended definitions, we highlight the particulars of how our respondents interpret diversity. Specifically, we show that for about one-third of our sample, diversity programs are equated with 'oneness', 'equality', and 'color-blindness'. We analyze this interpretation of diversity as a discursive construction that enables respondents to profess progressive views while at the same time upholding traditional American values of assimilation. We end the article with a critique of this emerging diversity regime and consider alternative models of promoting diversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-650
Number of pages20
JournalCritical Sociology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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