I agree generally that, as expressed in “Still Seeking the Ideal” ( JofA, Sept.99, page 75) and “Diversity Is Good for Business” ( JofA, Sept.99, page 81), there are benefits in diverse thinking among partners and staff members. However, the authors seemed to be using skin color as the sole measure of diversity.
Surely there is more to obtaining the benefits of diverse thinking and diverse perspectives among accountants than merely seeking to obtain arbitrary percentages of minorities holding staff positions.
Human differences in thinking and perspective are individual qualities, not racial qualities—the more we depart from honoring individual uniqueness, the more we move toward an arbitrary racial mix that substitutes skin color for real human diversity.
There is no question that many minority, as well as nonminority, members of society need special encouragement and help in overcoming the difficulties they face in gaining an education and moving up in the economic community. However, it would seem fairer to all concerned to base assistance on individual need and promotion on merit rather than on the random element of ethnicity.
William N. McNairn
Palos Verdes Estates, California