Posted on August 1, 2008

Why I Don’t Want Diversity in My Neighborhood

Trey Garrison, Dallas News, July 31, 2008

When I made the hard decision to forgo buying a house in Dallas [and move to] Plano.{snip} I started getting comments from readers at one of my other publications about “diversity,” whatever that means. Apparently, in choosing a house in one of the top school districts in the country, in a suburb where the poverty rate is low and the median income is high, I was guilty of the high crime of white flight.

My humbled, guilty reaction consisted of two words: “So what?”

I mean, what the heck does diversity mean? Some of my new neighbors in Plano include people from Thailand, Armenia, India, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Colombia and the Ukraine, but apparently that doesn’t count. And when a school is 85 percent white, it’s not diverse, but when it’s 85 percent Hispanic, it is?

I was scolded that my daughter, by being in a Plano school, would be sheltered from—nay, ill-equipped for—life in the real world.

Well, yeah. Probably. The real world is a lot bigger than Dallas, bigger than (Sam Houston, forgive me) Texas, and bigger than the United States. The majority of the real world is dirty, violent, poor and absent indoor plumbing and two-ply toilet paper. More than half the world’s people live on something like $1 a day.

{snip} I want a school that will prepare her for living in a professional, high-paying world so Daddy won’t have to pound out columns in his dotage.


Seriously, if the only exposure to other people your kid gets is when she’s sitting in a place where you move about like cattle at the sound of a bell and have to ask permission to go to the bathroom (i.e. school), what kind of sheltered life are you giving your kid?

It’s weird. We’ve made “diversity” into some kind of totem, an end to itself, and we haven’t even defined what it is. Do I learn more about a different perspective chatting with my Ukrainian neighbor (whom the census counts as white), or from a guy brought up five miles from me who happens to be black?

And I’m not entirely sold that diversity is automatically good.

Look, diversity is great when it comes to nightclubs, workplaces, cultural experiences, restaurants and all that. But I don’t want diversity in my neighborhood.


I want uniformly boring neighbors with uniformly boring, middle-class values who spend Saturdays working on their lawns and whose kids know to stay off mine. I want neighbors with Home Depot on speed dial. That’s how I choose to live. Your mileage may vary.

And isn’t that diversity, too?