“What recedes when diversity becomes a view? If diversity is a way of viewing or even picturing an institution, then it might allow only some things to come into view.” Sara Ahmed draws on the experience of diversity workers and brings focus to what diversity obscures. The process of embedding diversity into their institutions becomes conflicting, as it prevents the habitualization of diversity. More specifically the action oriented approach, making it an explicit goal ends up disguising the issues, while making people feel better about difference. Diversity work seems to be often led by white people/institutions to alleviate their own conscience. The word itself, diversity, is softer and puts some distance with terms like institutional racism or injustice. While organizational values are attached to diversity, there is an indifference towards the steps that are executed to accomplish it. Documenting diversity is not transformational and to be truly effective there must be change.
You do a nice job getting at the paradox of diversity within higher ed institutions (and elsewhere). As you say, the crux of that paradox lies in the way institutional racism is made invisible in the very act of making diversity a visible marker of the commitment to racial equity. Ahmed’s writing is amazing to me because she so expertly uses the turn of phrase (she literally turns phrases and sentences back onto themselves) to upend and expose status quo institutional logics that masquerade as progressive.