T Nation

Diversity's Negative Correlaries

Some disturbing findings from Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam regarding some measurements that seem to be correlated with increased diversity in communities.

An article on the research is here:

EXCERPT:

[i]Putnam’s study reveals that immigration and diversity not only reduce social capital between ethnic groups, but also within the groups themselves. Trust, even for members of one’s own race, is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friendships fewer. The problem isn’t ethnic conflict or troubled racial relations, but withdrawal and isolation. Putnam writes: “In colloquial language, people living in ethnically diverse settings appear to ‘hunker down’-that is, to pull in like a turtle.”

In the 41 sites Putnam studied in the U.S., he found that the more diverse the neighborhood, the less residents trust neighbors. This proved true in communities large and small, from big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Boston to tiny Yakima, Washington, rural South Dakota, and the mountains of West Virginia. In diverse San Francisco and Los Angeles, about 30 percent of people say that they trust neighbors a lot. In ethnically homogeneous communities in the Dakotas, the figure is 70 percent to 80 percent.

Diversity does not produce “bad race relations,” Putnam says. Rather, people in diverse communities tend “to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more, but have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television.” Putnam adds a crushing footnote: his findings “may underestimate the real effect of diversity on social withdrawal.”[/i]

It would be interesting to read the study itself – and surely to do a causation analysis. Particularly, I would be interested to see how population density tracked with measured diversity – I would think that the denser the population, the more you would see the same types of negative effects Putnam measures.

Diversity doesn’t work. You don’t need a scientific study to demonstrate that. All that’s needed is common sense and the ability to observe everyday events in the world.

A well-functioning society is a structured and segregated society. This is the way it’s been done for thousands of years. Technology has changed, human nature and social dynamics haven’t.

Wow, somebody struck paydirt: a study that justifies Republican racism.

I mean, lets face it, everybody knows that Republicans are the party who hate immigrants, 'the coloreds", uppity women, the queers, and so on.

[quote]Nominal Prospect wrote:
A well-functioning society is a structured and segregated society. This is the way it’s been done for thousands of years. Technology has changed, human nature and social dynamics haven’t. [/quote]

Social Dynamics are an extension of human nature and part of human nature is change…

Meaning, both human nature and social dynamics HAVE and will continue to change.

[quote]Brad61 wrote:
Wow, somebody struck paydirt: a study that justifies Republican racism.

I mean, lets face it, everybody knows that Republicans are the party who hate immigrants, 'the coloreds", uppity women, the queers, and so on. [/quote]

You are an idiot. No further response to your ravings is necessary.

[quote]Nominal Prospect wrote:
Diversity doesn’t work. You don’t need a scientific study to demonstrate that. All that’s needed is common sense and the ability to observe everyday events in the world.

A well-functioning society is a structured and segregated society. This is the way it’s been done for thousands of years. Technology has changed, human nature and social dynamics haven’t. [/quote]

It was always that way because travel took a long time. Things change.

I think BB’s question about population density is on target. The differences between the Dakotas and NYC go far deeper than ethnic diversity.

Putnam is still struggling to come up with arguments that explain and extend “Bowling Alone.” Not that that makes him wrong.

Population density does tend to reduce social interaction within communities, but that is also going to be related to the fact that higher population areas have less available housing, which means that communities are not communities, as such.

People living with six month or one year leases in packed apartment complexes do not constitute community precisely because there is nothing common about their experience, other than their immediate location and income.

If there is no incentive to interact to better their surroundings or form longer term relationships, or a reduced incentive because they don’t plan on living there long, there is little motivation for social capital to emerge.

In a sense, you have to have a market for social capital; it devalues just as a dollar might. An unstable market means that social capital has little likelihood of being worth more tomorrow than it is today.

In homogeneous areas, even where there is reduced local community because of population density, there is greater likelihood of outside communities forming because of shared interests and greater expectation that investments will produce long-term benefits, i.e., while I do not reasonably anticipate that I will live in the same apartment complex for five years, I can reasonably anticipate that I will be in the same general area for that long. Thus people who share interests and common experience with me, and are available in the general area, are still attractive.

The question is whether or not lack of local trust is a result of a “self and other” distinction as measured by race or culture, or whether there is some halo effect from having otherwise rewarding social connections.

That is, if we have a black guy in a “diverse” apartment complex or subdivision in an otherwise black area, is he likely to still distrust his neighbors? Conversely, if he is in a predominately black apartment complex or subdivision while surrounded by an otherwise diverse area, is he distrusting of his neighbors, or does he trust them?

I suspect that local diversity and broader, area-wide diversity are confounded factors in Putnam. I haven’t read this yet, so I could be totally off base… Putnam is usually very diligent.

[quote]Brad61 wrote:
Wow, somebody struck paydirt: a study that justifies Republican racism.

I mean, lets face it, everybody knows that Republicans are the party who hate immigrants, 'the coloreds", uppity women, the queers, and so on. [/quote]

It must make life very simple when you don’t bother to think. At least your brain is well rested…

[quote]nephorm wrote:

The question is whether or not lack of local trust is a result of a “self and other” distinction as measured by race or culture, or whether there is some halo effect from having otherwise rewarding social connections.
…[/quote]

That’s exactly the key. What’s the causation for the negatives? And can that be parsed out from the causation for the positives in a useful manner?

[quote]
nephorm wrote:

That is, if we have a black guy in a “diverse” apartment complex or subdivision in an otherwise black area, is he likely to still distrust his neighbors? Conversely, if he is in a predominately black apartment complex or subdivision while surrounded by an otherwise diverse area, is he distrusting of his neighbors, or does he trust them?

I suspect that local diversity and broader, area-wide diversity are confounded factors in Putnam. I haven’t read this yet, so I could be totally off base… Putnam is usually very diligent.[/quote]

That’s an interesting idea – how localization effects the measured effects. I really will like to read the paper when it comes out.

From a politics and policy perspective, there are several interesting questions that come to mind: whether there is an optimal level of diversity for communities, beyond which you start to see more negatives than positives (because there are obviously positives if there is interaction); whether assimilation around an idea, such as national identity, could overcome the negative effects?

And what about common language? One would think a language barrier would exacerbate the negatives.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
It must make life very simple when you don’t bother to think. At least your brain is well rested…[/quote]

It must make life simple when you can find a study that backs almost any thesis under the sun, even as sloppily as this study does.

Shall I post the study that links mental illness and people who voted for Bush?
http://digg.com/politics/Correlation_between_mental_illness_and_GW_Bush_voters

So lets see… Diversity leads to LESS interaction among ethnic groups, yes that sounds about right… idiot.

Funny, because MY point about racism was proven by the second post in the thread.

Wow, you’ve managed to evaluate the methodology of a study that has yet to be released? Do tell… No wonder you don’t have the energy to think – it’s all being redirected toward those magic ESP powers of yours.

Perhaps you could at least point to some ad hominem reasons why you think this researcher is prone to mistakes? Or somehow link some of your rambling to a single, rational idea?

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
Wow, you’ve managed to evaluate the methodology of a study that has yet to be released? Do tell… [/quote]

No, I’m evaluating the conclusions that were drawn in the article that you linked.

You gotta admit, that was prety sweet timing, when the dude followed your first post with a “Yeah, diversity sucks!” post. That was the cherry on the sundae.

The conclusion you came up with isn’t the same as the one in the article. It isn’t just general “interaction” – it’s specific, recurring social interaction and the building of social capital (see Nephorm’s excellent post above). In other words, it’s community building.

But it was really your implied causal attribution that was unfair – a piece of information on how people react to situations doesn’t equate to a theoretical justification for racism.

Your statement about Republicans was just ignorant.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
Your statement about Republicans was just ignorant.[/quote]

If the shoe fits, kick yourself with it. The GOP is the party of white guys who hate immigrants, brown people, uppity women and queers.

Everybody knows it. Even you.

Stick with the ESP attempts – all the same accuracy as your usual blather, but twice the entertainment value. Your posts always max out the unintentional comedy scale – which is pretty common for people who become self parodies.

[quote]Brad61 wrote:
BostonBarrister wrote:
Your statement about Republicans was just ignorant.

If the shoe fits, kick yourself with it. The GOP is the party of white guys who hate immigrants, brown people, uppity women and queers.

Everybody knows it. Even you.

[/quote]

Yikes, you’re like a liberal Anne Coulter.

[quote]Brad61 wrote:
BostonBarrister wrote:
Your statement about Republicans was just ignorant.

If the shoe fits, kick yourself with it. The GOP is the party of white guys who hate immigrants, brown people, uppity women and queers.

Everybody knows it. Even you.

[/quote]

That is bad, because were I in the US, I`d be a republican.

Can you send me a mandatory hate list please?

[quote]Brad61 wrote:
BostonBarrister wrote:
Your statement about Republicans was just ignorant.

If the shoe fits, kick yourself with it. The GOP is the party of white guys who hate immigrants, brown people, uppity women and queers.

Everybody knows it. Even you.

[/quote]

Troll.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Brad61 wrote:
BostonBarrister wrote:
Your statement about Republicans was just ignorant.

If the shoe fits, kick yourself with it. The GOP is the party of white guys who hate immigrants, brown people, uppity women and queers.

Everybody knows it. Even you.

Troll.[/quote]

Seconded.

This could be a very interesting topic, especially as it relates to the multiracial versus multicultural debate we face in light of immigration problems.

But half-retarded trolls like Brad do their best to stall the debate.

“From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that… but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans”
Kevin Phillips

"You start out in 1954 by saying, “N*****, n*****, n*****.” By 1968 you can’t say ‘n*****’–that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.
And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that.

But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me�??because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N*****, n*****.”
Lee Atwater

If the shoe fits, kick yourself. Most Republicans would sooner cut off their own hand, than vote for a black candidate.