The DTH may very well have a diversity issue. I can neither verify nor deny these claims as there is little available data on the demographic makeup of the paper, as well as the fact that discomfort is a uniquely individual experience not easily proven or explained to others, especially those who are not racial minorities themselves (although, having lived in Thailand for a year I am not unaware of what it might be like to live in a space where there is not a significant number of people who look like you).
However, there is an assumption that lies underneath much of this talk about diversity. Essentially, these observations of this perceived or actual inequality assume that inequality is always unjust.
It is possible that some instances of inequality are the result of some type of injustice. However, the mere existence of inequality does not prove that there is improper behavior causing the disparity. Take, for example, the fact that there is a lack of conservative writers at the DTH. There is a significant inequality between the number of liberal and conservative writers here. That does not mean that there are unjust hiring practices here at the DTH. A better explanation is that there is not a large amount of conservatives at UNC and those who have writing talent aren’t interested in writing for the DTH.
This is essentially the center of my disagreement with these well-intentioned measures. As long as we provide an opportunity for every UNC student to prove that they have the skill to work at the DTH, it shouldn’t matter if every single writer we hire next year is Black, Hispanic, trans, or white. If then there is some level of inequality in our workplace, such inequality is not unjust but merely the fact that there happened to be more qualified writers from a certain demographic this particular year. Our primary responsibility is to hire the best reporters we can, not to ensure that our demographic makeup represents the population at large.
Most of those who advocate for increased representation of racial minorities at the DTH would not believe that a measure to increase the amount of conservative writers has any merit - which is fair. However, many of the arguments used to support the measures that hire racial minorities can be used to support the hiring of conservative journalists. It is absolutely true that a different perspective that comes being from a racial minority can lead to unique and valuable stories. So, too, being a conservative and having the perspective that comes from such a orientation can lead to a unique story. Hiring minorities to make other minorities more comfortable can be applied to both racial minorities and conservatives. Therein lies the rub: why limit minority hiring initiatives to racial minorities? It is a slippery slope by any account and is why I do not support hiring practices based on minority status.
Once we have hired a staff of writers, it is no more than reasonable to ensure those minorities in our workplace are made as comfortable as we can make them. It would be ridiculous to claim that minorities should never be uncomfortable in places where they see little evidence of people like them. People feel comfortable around people like themselves and hopefully we can create an environment conducive to great writing and reporting.
Hire the best writers and the rest will come after.