Start diversity from within

I am writing this in response to Karen Lightbourne’s Sept. 4 column regarding campus diversity. Although diversity among faculty is important, expecting every teacher to be an exact representation of the subject they teach negates the goals of diversity all together.

If we resign ourselves to the idea that only someone who has experienced a certain cultural perspective firsthand has the right to educate others on that perspective, we may as well concede that we, as a society, are incapable of evolving our cultural outlook.

Suggesting that only a native Spanish speaker is qualified to discuss Hispanic culture may well be as backward as believing that only a woman can have an opinion on abortion.

Lightbourne said that although she expects her women’s studies professor to be a woman, she also expects male students to be in the class. But how could a male student benefit from such a class if, by the political correctness of his society, he is denied the right to express his opinion on the subject simply because he isn’t a woman?

We need to stop whining about the insensitivity of others to our own cultural plights and start listening to what people have to say, even if it’s different from our own opinions. How can we expect to become a diverse campus if we have no tolerance for differing views?

Diversity has become such a hot topic on campus, but perhaps it is for the wrong reasons. Rather than pointing fingers at administration to “fix” our campus, we should be looking to each other to facilitate the change so many are desperately seeking. While we can mourn the loss of great role models like Mahjabeen Rafiuddin and Veleashia Smith, we cannot simply give up because they are gone.

What does it say about our student body if we must rely completely upon the administration to change our attitudes? Are we all so childish that we cannot make a conscious effort ourselves to become culturally aware, but instead must be led like sheep to the green pastures of a diverse campus?

Emily Brantley

Management, political science junior