Making An Inoffensive Diversity
By PERRY DIXON
Headline is Impossible
Back Page Editor/ The Boy Who Lived
After a relatively mild and uncharacteristically uncontroversial article last week it would seem as though it is only appropriate to once more stir up a bit of a mess. However, often times what is intended to be a controversial stirring of the mess ends up being a mere explanation of views shared by a relatively large percentage of the student body. Of course there is a contingency typically in opposition to the Back Page. But these alleged detractors are neither well accounted for nor very convincing whenever they do emerge from the shadows. As promised, the incendiary articles will continue and there is no reason to avoid any of the more immediately relevant issues on campus. Without any further delay, it is time to consider none other than Georgetown’s very curious conception of “Diversity,” its consequent pursuit of alleged “Diversity,” and the real goal of achieving “Diversity” the College holds.
Any time that matters of race are discussed there is typically a knee jerk reaction to start playing the “that’s racist” game. It is up to readers to decide how significant a role racism plays, if any at all, in this conversation. But first, the facts must be set out as they exist in an objective manner without all of the bureaucratic garbage that typically accompanies any official discussion of the “Diversity Initiatives.” To be sure, Georgetown must become more diverse if it is to successfully continue as a sustainable institution for another fifty to one hundred years. Though some may argue against this assertion, the fact is that the world is an increasingly global community and, even in Kentucky, it is becoming increasingly impossible to ignore the fact that most of the world is not white and upper middle class. A truly diverse Georgetown would one day have classrooms in which students could develop friends who are black…and white…and Indian, Guatemalan, Honduran, Spanish, Polynesian, French, English, Nigerian, Kenyan, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian, to name a miniscule percentage of the possibilities in the “country of origin” category. Not to mention Baptist, Presbyterian, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist or any other religious affiliation. There is also the whole lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and straight category to consider (which we do not consider here at Georgetown). Or one might wonder about potential socioeconomic diversity including students given the opportunity to succeed from every realm of that particular spectrum. In three sentences it is possible to brush the very surface of the true nature of diversity that is far more complicated and all encompassing than a small, private, financially unstable, identity-crisis-suffering, historically Baptist college, is willing to immediately acknowledge.
Given this complicated and barely scraped conception of diversity, one might begin to wonder about the approach to diversity that Georgetown seems to actively pursue. Plain and simple, black and white, with a few South American and a few students from various other places does not constitute diversity. For the past three years, there have been grumblings on campus about the “Diversity Initiatives” for two immediately obvious reasons. The first is that there is a minority of racist individuals on campus; welcome to Kentucky. The second is that placing the emphasis on any one minority as the focus of the drive to achieve a state of “Diversity” is exceptionally problematic. It is unfair to black students that they are largely still seen as the focal point of diversity and by some, incorrectly, the recipients of unfair beneficial treatment by the college. The Bishop Scholar program is something that Georgetown did right. But, what needs to be made clear is that just because a student is black does not mean that they are necessarily a Bishop Scholar or in any way related to the program. This statement should not be necessary but given conversations that occur on campus, it unfortunately is still, in 2010, very necessary. It is ridiculous in the first place that there remains on campus a significant divide when it comes to race. One only has to look in the Caf, or consider the statistics of Greek organizations, or look around in general to see that there are a lot of bridges that still need to be made in the black and white arena. But, as previously mentioned, the black and white arena should not even still be on the college’s radar. We should be beyond thinking of the conversation in such a restricted manner.
But Georgetown is largely stuck in the black and white game. While there are a few other groups increasingly represented on campus, it is easy to see that Georgetown’s reach for diversity only stretches so far. It is also evident, thankfully so, that there are plenty of people to whom race does not matter so much. There are real students who know what real life is like and associate with whoever they feel like whenever they want. That is how it is supposed to be. But the college needs to stop calling for a pursuit of “Diversity” if really what is meant is “Students from Decently Protestant Backgrounds in Areas or Countries that Provide Them.” If Georgetown were pursuing diversity, there would be programs for students from India and Africa and Asia and Europe or somewhere else equally as awesome. If diversity was the goal the black and white conversation would not still be the focus; hopefully the significance of this particular conversation is being overblown even in this article. The conversation remains restricted and there is no realistic plan that has yet been presented to achieve diversity, not “Diversity,” in the future. There is no such thing as a black student, white student, Chilean student, Indian student or a whatever- you-can-think-of student. There are only students. We should be getting them from anywhere and everywhere. We are not.
This is a Massive Blank Space.
Too Many Tests and Papers and
No. That is immoral.
disclaimer: the contents of the back page are not necessarily true