Why this GOP candidate said diversity is a ‘bunch of crap’
Congressional candidate Seth Grossman, who called diversity a "bunch of crap," called my show to explain his remark. You can check out the story here.
He said, "The real problem is what does the word "diversity" mean? I love diversity. I have Chinese food one night, I have Italian food the other night. I grew up in a mixed neighborhood, it's nice to have people of all different backgrounds, but when you use diversity as a political term, where a political agenda, it has a special meaning."
Grossman explained the context of his remark made in Pittsgrove. "It was in the middle of nowhere, maybe about 20-25 people total in the audience. Unknown to me, one of the audience said we have some kids (American Bridge to the 21 century) taking video so that it would make the trip worthwhile for the candidates. We had 5 candidates running for the Republican nomination for congress, and you had 4 white guys and one guy of Indian descent who was not at that particular meeting." Then the meeting started.
"After an hour and a half debate where we're tired, intense, and hungry, one of the kids taking video asked, 'What can you Republicans do to bring diversity to the Republican party?' Of course the implication was that you have 4 white guys, what can we do to have somebody of a different ethnic group or a different racial whatever and that's when I replied, 'Well that's a bunch of crap.' In America, we judge people by their talent, their work, their achievement, not by what race you are, what ethnic group, what sex preference because diversity by itself is not a virtue. Just because you're different doesn't mean you're entitled to get some position. You have to show you're better or qualified to get it."
At the time Grossman thought it was a pretty innocuous comment. "The interesting thing is of the 22 people, there actually was one black guy there and he volunteered and worked on my campaign."
Then suddenly Grossman gets a call on Monday morning from the "Philadelphia Inquirer" reporter Amy Rosenberg, whom he had been sending press releases to regarding his work in Atlantic City. Tuesday, he was on the front page of the "Daily News" dressed as a caveman. Grossman stood by his comments.
"I do take this personal because I have family members at the casinos who had worked for years to reach certain level of achievement, who had certain skills then would have to train lesser qualified replacements for the jobs they're supposed to be promoted to so the casinos can go in front of the Casino Control Commission and say, 'Hey we exceeded our diversity quota.' Diversity in that sense has a dog whistle meaning of making people entitled to positions and scholarships and things that they did not earn and crowd better qualified people out. I didn't mean to offend anybody."
Grossman grew up in Atlantic City where he went to Central Junior High where, "I was the minority." He served in a National Guard unit where he was, "one of only a handful of white guys in the unit. Don't tell me about diversity, we never think about it, we're all Americans."
Does he think we're at the point as a society where we can just give the job to the best qualified? Grossman, who was at an Atlantic County organization meeting where the county committee for the republican party meets says he was talking to some of our leaders from the black community who say as far as their concerned, diversity is an excuse. If you don't make it you say well I didn't make it because I'm in this group and I'm not being treated fairly, when in fact the ones in that same group, who work a little harder, study a little harder, and take more of an interest, and pay attention can succeed. The doors are wide open in America," says Grossman. "How can you explain how people can come from a thousand miles away speaking a different language and rise to positions where people who grew up six blocks away already speaking english aren't making it."
"We've got to stop giving people excuses and start saying this is America and America is the freedom to succeed, but America also means the freedom to fail, and we've got to let people fail because when people fail, they get smarter and do things better the second time. So that's the American dream as I grew up and when you say make America great again, that's part of making America great again- making people responsible for whether you succeed or fail. Not saying I'm entitled because I got friends in politics, I got friends in government, or I'm a member of a certain ethnic group or gender group or sexual group or whatever, that's not what America is."
For more on Seth Grossman, click here.
More from New Jersey 101.5: