I am searching for a job at a small liberal arts college in the United States, and I was recently interviewed via Skype by a search committee. One of the questions I asked was "What things are your institution experiencing/initiating with regard to recent trends in the STEM fields?"
The interviewers covered a variety of topics in their detailed response, and one in particular stood out to me: "We are really trying to hire from underrepresented demographic groups in our discipline, for instance, someone that is X, Y, or Z."
That statement led me to the following questions, which I would like to pose to academia.se:
While I wholeheartedly agree with the principle behind their statement and I realize that most departments have this objective, is it considered appropriate for an interviewer to be so explicit about that preference?
Given that I was doing a Skype interview, it was fairly obvious that I did not fall into any of the categories named by the interviewer. What would be the best way for me to respond to a statement like that?