It seems to me that we might learn a lot about today’s society by looking backwards to the time of the ancient Romans.
You see, religion was an important part of Roman daily life in that they believed in many different gods and goddesses. If the gods were angry, terrible things could happen so to keep the gods happy, sacrifices were used as offerings. The ancient Romans had a whole slew of gods covering all kind of everyday life activities.
Some of the most important included: Jupiter, king of the gods; Neptune, god of the sea and earthquakes; Mars, god of war; Venus, goddess of love and beauty; Cupid, god of love; Apollo, god of music, healing, light and truth; Pluto, god of death; Saturn, god of time; Janus, god of doors and new beginnings; and Diana, goddess of the moon and of hunting.
There were lots more, in fact, they reportedly even paid tribute to an “unknown god” in case they had missed one.
OK, so what? Our society doesn’t have such a formal array of gods governing our everyday lives and requiring our obeisance, which means: “a gesture of respect or reverence; the attitude of tribute to or conformity with.” We don’t have to placate, which means: “to appease, to cater to” gods by offering up sacrifices lest terrible things happen. Or maybe we do and don’t know it.
OK, moving on.
Our society now has three new “gods” that increasingly rule our everyday lives. They require obeisance and their demands must be placated or catered to. So what are they? They are known by the acronym DI&E which stands for “Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity.”
Diversity is described as including all the ways in which people differ including identity markers such as race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and religion. The degree of diversity is measured by the numbers of different groups represented at all levels in an institution or organization. The requirement for diversity is being implemented at all types of institutions such as colleges and universities, the federal government and even private companies.
Thus, California law requires California-based companies must meet specific diversity requirements so that by the end of 2021, all boards must have one “under-represented” member; by the end of 2022, boards with nine or more members must have three such members, while boards with five to eight members must have two.
Companies that do not meet these requirements will be subject to penalties of $100,000 to $300,000. How about them apples?
Inclusion is described as “the act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate.” Inclusion goes beyond diversity because once an organization meets diversity requirements, the focus must be on retention of a satisfied diverse population. Inclusion is measured through data obtained through surveys, interviews, and other such mechanisms, looking at attitudes and people’s perceptions of how welcoming an organization is believed to be. Individuals and organizations who do not foster such an inclusive atmosphere may be subject to disciplinary or punitive actions by complainants.
Equity refers to “fair and just practices and policies that ensure all organizational members can thrive.” Equity is different than equality in that equality implies treating everyone as if their experiences are exactly the same. Being equitable means acknowledging and addressing structural inequalities that advantage some and disadvantage others. Equitable processes seek to identify these imbalances and then create processes where different outcomes attributed to these inequalities wouldn’t exist. Thus equity is measured by whether the outcome of these processes leads to equality of success rather than equality of opportunity.
Well, there you have it, a thumbnail sketch of three of today’s “gods” that are taking the place of others, such as hard work, determination, education and similar “virtues” that have served our society for so long. Yep, diversity has already been instituted in the college entrance selection process as more important than an applicant’s accomplishments or test scores. Appointments to government positions are touted because of their conformity to diversity rather than for an individual’s qualifications. Makes a body kinda wonder when small, even family-owned businesses are forced to comply with the demands of the diversity, inclusion, and equity gods.
At least that’s how it seems to me.
Bill Taylor, a regular contributing columnist and local area resident, may be contacted at [email protected]