Before tackling diversity issue, minority students must unite

As I watch the futile attempts at diversifying and combating racism on this campus, I can’t help but think that I know something you don’t. Or maybe it’s something you choose not to acknowledge.

As of late, people of the black community have been protesting, discussing and rallying under the guise of campus equality. However, we overlook the fact that we have yet to find unity even among ourselves.

There is a problem when I walk around this campus and smile or wave at a familiar face but am sneered at in return.

I was taught that I didn’t have to know your name to speak to you. Yet nose after nose has been turned up at me because of the simple fact that we have not yet been acquainted. Why is that?

On a campus where minorities constitute a minute percentage of the total population, is not sticking together the most important concern? How much sense does it make that you want to be treated as equals on this campus but look right through your counterparts?

Furthermore, people wonder why the university has had such a hard time recruiting minorities. But the surly temperament among those presently on campus and the racist label Kentucky has been stamped with are enough to make anyone reconsider his or her reasons for attending this school.

Somehow, we have lost the ability to gauge what deserves our full attention. It has almost become second nature for us to pick apart the outfit that Jane Doe wore to the party on Friday. Yet the fact that you may have only had one black professor in your college career goes unnoticed and disregarded.

Am I the only one who sees a problem with this?

Worse still in the black community is the burgeoning division between Greeks and non-Greeks.

I commend Greek organizations on their commitment to scholastics and service. I even commend them on the strong sense of brotherhood and sisterhood they foster among one another.

What is not commendable, however, is the air of superiority that some have adopted in the wake of becoming part of these societies. How are we supposed to come together under a united front as Greek and non-Greek if you can’t get past the fact that I don’t have letters?

This is not to say that all Greeks have espoused this supercilious attitude as their own. But since fraternities and sororities are of such a cohesive nature, it’s easy for the beliefs of a few to seep out and taint an outsider’s view of the organization as a whole.

Regardless of whether it is the shared attitude of the entire organization or that of just a small number, “high and mighty” is not a characteristic that serves as a catalyst for positive change. This attitude threatens to stifle any hope for unified progress.

I’m not writing this to point fingers or place blame. Honestly, I haven’t been doing all that I could be in this skirmish for basic human liberties here on campus. And I’m working on that.

I am writing this because, just as racism had been overlooked before that fateful Kernel cartoon, no one else is taking the time to address this issue.

No way are we going to secure the respect of others when there is such dissension among ourselves. And now that it has been brought to your attention, be a vehicle for the changes that you want to see.

I promise nothing bad will come of you by speaking to that familiar face as you pass each other. The course of action you take is ultimately yours. But if we choose to continue on in this state, then the race for equality may as well end here.

Kayla Charleston is a journalism sophomore. E-mail [email protected].