“That strikes me as likely, but probably not the whole explanation,” said Peter Wood, author of the 2003 book, “Diversity; The Invention of a Concept.”
“One aspect that the study does not examine — but which I think would bear further research — is the degree to which these positive health outcomes are effected by lower levels of stress and higher level levels of emotional support,” said Wood, who is now the president of the National Association of Scholars.
Progressives’ political demands for enforced and subsidized variety have precipitated numerous controversies. For example, the federal government has forced local governments to build neighborhood housing for groups of people — such as Hispanics or Africans-Americans — that Washington believes are “under-represented” in the community.
Diane Johnson, the New Jersey director of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, told an interviewer with NJToday that “different people are living in different communities and people have to understand and learn to live with the other people.” Her agency, she said in April 2012, “is the enforcer.”
The Columbia study provided political ammunition to the Wood and other critics of government-imposed variety.
They argue it undermines local flexibility and civil society, which is voluntary cooperation via neighborhoods, marriage, sports leagues, churches and nonprofits.
“People ought to be able to live where they want, but … policies that intend to fragment ethnic communities and disperse people through a wide population, might have unintended but deleterious effect on the people you are trying to help,” Wood said.
This criticism was bolstered by a large 2006 Harvard study that showed people enjoyed a lower quality of life in a “diverse” neighborhood.
“The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined,” said author Robert Putnam, who had previously championed government-imposed variety. “It’s not just that we don’t trust people who are not like us … we don’t trust people who do look like us” within diverse communities.
People in diverse neighborhoods “don’t trust the local mayor, they don’t trust the local paper, they don’t trust other people and they don’t trust institutions. … The only thing there’s more of is protest marches and TV watching,” he said
The new health studies focused on African-Americans living in New Haven, Conn., and north-central North Carolina; and Mexican-Americans in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.