Expand diversity to mean more than race

Brett Nolan commented in his Aug. 29 column, “Diversity issue more complex than just skin color,” that administrators are too narrow-minded in their definition of diversity. I agree with Nolan that diversity should not be restricted simply to the color of someone’s skin or ethnic background.

Whenever I am asked to fill in the “Race/Ethnicity” bubble on an information sheet, my answer is “Asian/Pacific Islander,” categorizing me as a minority in this country. Yet, this is not how I generally think of myself.

As a baby, I was adopted from South Korea and grew up in Louisville’s white middle class. My parents took me to a few cultural events for adopted Korean children when I was in grade school, but only vague memories remain from those trips.

In addition, I have never tasted Korean food; I do not know how to eat with chopsticks; I am not knowledgeable about Korean culture or history; and I cannot write, speak or understand the Korean language. Yet according to UK administrators, because of my ethnic background, I am helping UK become a more diverse campus.

In his column, Nolan also suggested using socioeconomic status and nationality to measure UK’s diversity. Along that line, I would like to add U.S. geographical location to the mix. Although we are one country united under one flag, our geographical origins make us different and unique.

While UK draws students from across the country and around the globe, it also retains many in-state scholars. Even in Kentucky, a student from Louisville could have had entirely different experiences growing up when compared to a student from Bowling Green or Pikeville.

Although tracking socioeconomic status or geographic location may not be as convenient or as obvious as skin color or ethnicity, it may offer better insight into the diversity of our campus.

Kristin Sherrard

Business management and journalism junior