LETTER: Crash into learning diversity

What definition of racism are we working with? I keep hearing the word thrown around lately, and it seems that we’re not all talking about the same thing. To me, racism is quite simply viewing another person as inherently unequal to yourself. Does watching the Chief make you think that Native Americans are somehow inherently less worthy? If it doesn’t, then please, stop calling it “racist.” And stereotypes? Yes, those are bad; we can even agree they’re bad. We could sign our names to a piece of paper and say, “These things are bad.” What would change?

We heard an interesting selling point when applying: “At our university, we have a very diverse environment.” “Yay!” we thought. “People of other colors, religions, socio-economic backgrounds! That will help me to develop as a better human being!” Or not.

Here’s an idea to better race relations: take every class to Assembly Hall, set up a giant screen and watch Crash together. It’s not perfect, but it would be more effective than a mandatory class.

You can’t teach people not to hate. They have to teach themselves. Does our university have a “hostile environment?” Not really. Recent events were a shame to those involved and anyone who tolerates that behavior. When something like that happens, we are inclined to yell about it, and we should.

People look for harsher punishments and explore methods of changing the university’s climate, because we aren’t just offended by racism, we’re embarrassed. If only there was some quick fix that would alter our perceptions and fill us with compassion for one another. There isn’t. There is a way to fight racism: individuals have to learn empathy and feel a stronger connection to all humanity. Those things are hard to do. Unfortunately, they are the only real solution.

Carl Newman

Freshman in Business