How Do You Define Diversity?

Hyde Park Jazz Festival

I was searching for demographics for Chicago’s Hyde Park Neighborhood for background information for a call for volunteers I am posting for the Hyde Park Jazz Festival.  Known to be the home of the University of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry, and a very diverse neighborhood, I was surprised to find that 2000 US Census Bureau statistics identified the population for Zip Code 60637 as 82% African American, 13% Caucasian, 3% Asian, and 2% other.  Of that, just over 1% was Hispanic.

It made me curious about how diversity is perceived and defined.  Does it mean matching the overall demographics of the country?  For the US, in 2000, that was 75% white, 12.3% black, 3.6% Asian, with a combination of ‘other’ and 2 or more races filling the rest.  Of that, 12.5% are Latino or Hispanic.

Or does it mean equal balance of different groups in any given situation (e.g. 12.5% each of 8 or so categories on the Census form-or equal numbers within all groups present).

Or is it completely subjective?  If I am the minority walking into the majority, will I feel there is a lack of diversity, regardless of who makes up which group in a given situation?

Or, does it have to do with other factors used for grouping, such as:

Criminals (loved the comments noting how diverse the group arrested in New Jersey today was–although hopefully they haven’t gotten mean by now).

or Weight?  (a la the Surgeon General-I’m sorry I didn’t know about NAAFA-the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance-growing up!)

How do you define diversity?  Is it ‘objective’-a strict set of rules to apply, or ‘subjective’ based on tools to allow you to operate in any given environment?

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