Diversity means more than meeting gender or ethnic quotas

With its seeming intent to foster gender quotas in America's boardrooms, your Aug. 29 editorial, "Winning the waiting game for women CEOs," overlooked several possibilities.

For example, those who selected Indra Nooyi as CEO of PepsiCo might have been much more interested in her ethnicity than her gender. Also, that companies with the highest percentage of women corporate officers enjoy a 35 percent higher return on equity does not imply causality.

In fact, it might be that the strength of their business is what actually allows them to assume the risks of accelerating the promotion of women. Finally, based on 23 years of experience in a Fortune 100 company, I can tell you that men do not have a monopoly on insularity or any other human behavior.

Diversity of thought and experience is certainly needed at all levels of corporate management. However, the translation of that goal into gender, racial, and ethnic quotas does not guarantee diversity of thought, and is harmful to the morale of every employee. True diversity is a lot harder to achieve and takes a lot more time than meeting a quota.
Jeffrey Beck
Somerset, N.J.

Democracy takes time and will to unfold

It is incredible that John Hughes, in his Sept. 6 column, "Don't abandon the quest for freedom in the lands of Islam," uses the most obvious reason against America's efforts to implant democracy in Iraq as a reason for supporting it. Mr. Hughes quotes an Iraqi exile as saying, "Modern Western democracy has taken five centuries to mature...." Exactly.

Beginning in 1215 with Magna Carta, Western democracy began as an internal force that slowly flowered over centuries. It is precisely because of this lesson of history that President Bush's war for democracy is so ill advised: because he (and Hughes) have the hubris to believe that Americans can externally impose democracy in less than several centuries. Remember "Mission Accomplished" two months after the invasion?
Philip Herter

Regarding John Hughes's Sept. 6 Opinion column about democracy in the Middle East: Where in the Constitution does it say that American lives and treasury can be sacrificed for another country's freedom?

If the people of that country don't value freedom enough – if it is not bought and paid for by their own blood – it is worthless.
Arlene Lewetzow
Novato, Calif.

Third parties entice black voters

Regarding the Aug. 28 article, "Major black candidates at record high": I am interested in knowing why the writer failed to include the African-Americans representing third parties and running for office.

I am finding more African-Americans and others who felt disenfranchised in past elections who are either joining third parties, such as the Green Party, or not voting at all.

I have enjoyed reading Monitor articles in the past. The paper's reporting on current events is insightful, but I find the lack of reporting on what has been called the third largest party in America sad.

There is a large segment of the population that feels that both the Democratic and Republican parties do not represent them, and they are looking toward the Greens as the alternative.
Ed Boyd
Green Party candidate for governor

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