Who cares if you were born this way?

Lady Gaga is blowing up the charts again with her new single, “Born This Way”, which “celebrates” a variety of different types of diversity, including race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. I’m going to sidestep the central controversy this song was written to exploit, and instead point out a stupid and dangerous idea that this song promotes:

What difference does it make if you were born this way or if you chose to be this way?

What annoys me about this song is that it overemphasizes the role of nature in diversity, and chooses to celebrate and praise a variety of forms of diversity that are (arguably) pre-determined at birth, like race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. (This also ignores a long list of very not-nice types of “diversity” that are likely just as predetermined at birth, like predisposition to addiction, schizophrenia, antisocial personality disorder, and pedophilia.)

Provided that you’re not harming someone else, why should we celebrate diversity in race any more than diversity in fashion styles? Do you only have the right to be proudly different in ways that you were born to be different?

The anthem of “born this way” strikes me more as a whiny excuse from someone trying to explain why they’re different: “Don’t blame me, mister, I was born this way!” This appeal to fatalism offers a haven for the victim, but a cowardly and ultimately fragile one. Cowardly because it attempts to shift the responsibility for identity to random chance instead of personal choice, and fragile because it might turn out that some of those supposedly predetermined traits aren’t quite as inescapable as we thought.

So rather than celebrating “black, white, or beige”, how about we celebrate diversity in all its (non-evil) forms?