Diversity – Promises Kept and Promises Broken

Diversity with underlying unity of purpose works. Diversity with fundamental division of purpose does not.

As chief medical officer for the DeWitt Health Care Network in 2009, I interviewed all physicians assigned to our hospital who were planning to leave the Army. During a conversation with a young pediatrician, I inquired about her reasons for going. She was born in America of Indian parents in New York and was a practicing Hindu, and she had been unhappy in her recent assignment in Fort Polk, Louisiana. When I asked why, she said “I just want to go to a place with more diversity.” I was puzzled, because while she may not have considered Fort Polk adequately diverse, the assignment she was completing was in Northern Virginia, one of the most diverse places in the country. I said “we have hundreds of people groups, varied restaurants and cultural facilities, and unending opportunities here. What are you looking for?” She replied “I want to be around Indians and Indian culture. I noted “the Durga Hindu temple is not far from here, and there are Indian restaurants, Indian culture, and a large Indian population nearby. Are you involved with those? Wouldn’t that be enough to make you want to stay in uniform?” She replied, “I like the Army, but I just want to be with my people. I want to go home.”

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