Ok, I've held off on posting here for a little while on this subject, but here goes.
I used to completely identify with Morgan Freeman when he said that the solution to the race problem is to "stop talking about it" (This, to me, sounds a lot like the "I don't see color" mantra that's floating around lately). I think I now both agree and disagree with these types of statements; I agree in the sense that I should not treat anybody differently, in any sense, just because they are of a certain race or ethnicity (or gender, to pull that into the discussion). I no longer agree in the sense that we should simply ignore our differences or look past the systemic racism that exists. I honestly think these are two entirely separate issues, but are often taken to be one in the same (especially right now).
As a white male in a predominantly white geographic region, I do often find it difficult to see the struggles that people that are not my race (or gender) experience. If there's one thing these past few weeks have helped me realize, it's that I'm not the only person "in the room," and the struggles that exist are very real and often overlooked (if not outright dismissed) by people in my race/gender. To be sure, it has been an eye-opening experience, and I feel like I can start making changes in my personal behavior to help bridge that gap. Maybe that won't completely solve the systemic issues in our society, but I feel like it's at least a first step.
In terms of the engineering community's grading on diversity...I think we need to be sure to quantify the assessment a little more. Are we talking about hiring? Lack of harassment? Opportunity for advancement? I think the grade is different based on which you are talking about. For each of those categories, and from my limited perspective (obviously, I haven't worked everywhere, so I can't give an accurate score for the entire community), I think I'd give the following grades:
In terms of hiring, I would say the community gets a B/B-. Like others have said, I think the engineering community does a good job of hiring people based on whether they can do the job, regardless of the race or gender of the person in question. A lack of hires seems to point to a systemic issue elsewhere (probably higher education, like others have suggested).
In terms of lack of harassment, I would say the community as a whole gets a C- at best.
In terms of opportunity for advancement, I would say the community as a whole gets a D at best.
It's really difficult to quantify some of these, not just because I have a limited perspective, but also because a lot of these issues are invisible and difficult to prove. In light of these, my ratings are also influenced by what everyone else on this board has already said. So to all, thanks for helping me see some of these invisible issues. It is helpful.