Corporate America long ago signed on to the idea that diversity—besides being a noble goal in itself—is good for business. Companies with diverse workforces consistently outperform their competitors; diversity drives innovation, and workers tend to be happier at companies that value inclusiveness. But it’s even more important in journalism than, say, at an accounting firm. When you’re in the business of telling stories, lacking diversity means you’re limited in the sorts of stories you can tell—or even think of telling. A newsroom filled with white guys simply lacks the same imagination as one with people from an array of backgrounds.
Our demographic feng shui practitioner has apparently gotten journalism confused with creative writing class, but that’s okay, because journalism has much bigger problems than office cosmetics to worry about, and it could be that all the non-honkies are simply smart enough to get involved in a field with a future instead. Still, he’s absolutely right. Imagination and empathy aren’t qualities that can be honed by just anyone; they’re genetically encoded in our race and gender. I mean, white people’s fiction all sounds exactly alike, obviously. Same with their music — you’ve heard one white artist, you’ve heard them all.