Bryan Caplan wrote this in his description of GMU blogger culture:
Appealing to your identity is a reason to discount what you say, not a reason to pay extra attention.
Bryan explains more, not easy for me to summarize but do read his full account. Let me instead try to state my own views:
1. If someone makes a claim new or foreign to you, and that person comes from a different background in some manner, you probably should up the amount of attention you give that claim because the person is from a different background. Your marginal need to learn from that person is probably above-average, noting of course this can be countermanded by other signals. That said, I recognize that our ability to learn from “different others” may be below average, given the possible absence of a common conceptual framework. Nonetheless, I say be ambitious in your learning!
2. If someone makes a claim you already disagree with, and that person comes from a different background in some manner, you should try to figure out why that person might see the matter differently. You should try harder, at the margin, precisely because the person is from a different background. Again, this follows from a mix of marginalism and Bayesian reasoning and ambition in learning.
3. When you hear a person from a different background, try not to get too caught up in the “identity politics” of it, either positively or negatively. Try to steer your thoughts to: “People from this background in fact have a wide diversity of views on this topic. Still, I will try to learn from this person’s different background.” Try not to think: “This is how group X feels about issue Y.”
4. I’ve already noted that you often learn more efficiently from people who come from similar backgrounds as yourself. Even putting language aside, I am more likely to have a fruitful career-enhancing dialogue with another nerdy economist than with a Mongolian sheep-herder. In this regard I worry when I hear an uncritical celebration of intellectual diversity for its own sake. To me it too often sounds like mere mood affiliation, subservient to political ends and devoid of cognitive content.
But still, I do not wish to rebel against such sentiments too much. At the end of the day I am left with my intellectual ambition and I really do wish to go visit Mongolia, including for the sheep herders. And to the extent I am informed in some ways that maybe not all of my peers are, the intellectual ambition I am presenting here is a big reason why. I seek to encourage more such ambition, rather than to give people reasons for evading it.