i Diversity | College Writing: Debate(s) In Higher Education
13. December 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Blog Post 4

Libbie Doney

In today’s world, Diversity is becoming a more popular topic. The world we live in is considered a melting pot with all different types of backgrounds. Yet, with all of these people and backgrounds people don’t take the time to learn about them. Some people have knowledge of different backgrounds mostly from experience or where they are from. The unfamiliarity of others backgrounds is leaving communities and people separated. We want our communities and people to be brought together. We can do that by making race and ethnic studies a requirement at SNC so students can learn the differences of their peers and have better knowledge of what is going on in the real world.

University of Missouri had hired a chief diversity officer, started a diversity audit and created a group of faculty members, administrators and a student to review diversity efforts across campus. The campus set aside money to increase faculty diversity and had staff members and new students required to take diversity training. I can see why the University thought they were making a difference because of all the changes they made with diversity. However, students noted that racial climate hasn’t improved since the year before. Yes, this process may take a few years enable to see a difference in change but universities like Missouri might think they are doing the right thing by making a few changes to their staff but that doesn’t make a difference with how their students treat their peers. That is the biggest issue that needs to be handled.

Race and ethnic studies are already offered at universities but the students that take these classes, explains professor Albert Laguna, are already students of color. Students might be afraid to take these classes because they might offend someone by saying the wrong thing or they may believe that these studies don’t pertain to them. But by being in an ethnic studies classroom, students have the opportunity to explore preconceptions of racism. Professors can explain racism and students can realize that race is part of our everyday social life. This would increase students critical thinking skills, helping them be a part of conversations of race.

Growing up in the U.P of Michigan, there isn’t very many people of color. In my high school I could count the people of color on my hands. In my graduating class there were two people of color. In school we went over MLK, Malcom X and Rosa Parks but only because those were the big historical events. In history we read about slaves but not in depth. I was never exposed to different cultures in the town I grew up. But if I went to school where it was mostly African Americans, I feel like I would learn more about their culture. This is why it is important for schools to have ethnic studies required because not everyone gets the opportunity to learn about it and they might not even know why they should have to take a class like that. Actually next semester I am taking a class called History of Minorities to learn the backgrounds since I was never able to.

Laguna explains that if the goal of a liberal arts college is to engage their students in the community so they can think critically and open up to dialogue, then race and ethnic studies must be a part of requirements. It would help people in the real world be more successful with how they communicate with others. People would have more respect for each other knowing their backgrounds. Diversity doesn’t have to be an issue if people just took the time to realize and learn others backgrounds. Making ethnic and race studies a requirement would help students critical thinking skills and dialogue, which will help them more in their future.

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