President Obama thinks so. In Northern Ireland, he said:
“If towns remain divided—if Catholics have their schools and buildings and Protestants have theirs, if we can’t see ourselves in one another and fear or resentment are allowed to harden—that too encourages division and discourages cooperation,” the US president said.
Ah. Well, does this mean that the president is implicitly critical of historical black colleges, on the grounds that they encourage division and discourage cooperation? Is he against single-sex private schools, because they don’t allow us to see ourselves in one another?
Why stop at schools and buildings? Does the president believe that Catholics and Protestants are entitled to have their own churches, or is religious particularism “divisive”?
Is “diversity” divisive? Hello, Mr. President? Hell0?
We must have undivisive diversity, sounds like.
I think he stepped in it.
UPDATE: Oh, for goodness sake, I know this was a kum-ba-ya line in a speech, and I agree that the people of Northern Ireland should see the humanity in each other, and that their religious separatism has been a terribly destructive thing. My point is that Obama’s clumsy way of expressing an uncontroversial sentiment — namely, that Protestants and Catholics in that country ought to treat each other with more humanity — reveals a particular mindset. One man’s sectarianism that prevents us from seeing our essential unity is another man’s diversity that reveals we are a gorgeous mosaic.