Being Politically Correct at Colby
As every Colby student knows, we are a very "PC" campus. To stay in tune with our campus news from London, I have been keeping tabs on the Civil Digest and any sparks that it create. One of the first posts that I read in January generated a bit of commotion about the end of a student film; the movie apparently concluded with a gender stereotype about female drivers. After one student noted the incident, some students quickly joined in criticizing the comment while others responded with ridicule, not seeing the humor and, therefore, dramatizing the issue.
The students debated Colby's ongoing controversy: the degree to which students are responsible for being politically correct. I have always seen both sides of the argument. On one hand, our student body creates a community and we should be as tolerant and politically correct as possible; while on the other hand, our community consists of our Colby bubble and it is unrealistic to scrutinize over every statement. While the College leans toward always being politically correct, would it be better to instead create a happy medium and prepare students for the "real world?"
These thoughts stayed in the back of my mind as I began to explore London. Besides the gorgeous architecture, great pubs and more, the diversity of London really stand out to me. Even compared to New York City (which is known to be a multicultural metropolis), London attracts more visitors and foreigners from all over the world. Along with the other Americans on my study abroad program, I have been amazed to see that not only the city, but the school that we attend has an extremely diverse student body. Our school boasts a population of students from over 140 countries.
The international student population manifests itself in all aspects of the school. When we went to the student union bar, my American friends were absolutely astonished at the degree of diversity; however, they expressed it in the most appalling manner.
While I had already become close with most of the other students, I sat shocked to see this other narrow-minded part of them and how they were reacting. After shaking out of my stupor, I made a couple of comments to try and reason with them, but they were completely disregarded and I left feeling disheartened. As we became closer, I noticed that not only my friends, but also, random strangers that we had just met felt comfortable making racial slurs. Connecting this experience back to my first week, I remembered that even our orientation leaders had made numerous racial and gender stereotypes; consequently, no one seemed shocked besides myself and a fellow Colby friend. As a former member of the PCB during the fall semester, I hold a strong sense of responsibility in regards to cultural awareness and I want to change the intolerant and biased sentiments of every person that I meet; I dream big.
Though London attracts travelers and new residents from every part of the world, it by no means can be seen as a politically correct city. As I read the line about female drivers which paled in comparison to the harsh and obscene remarks that I hear on a daily basis, I question the necessity and absurdity of the arguments in the Civil Digest; being abroad, it is much more evident to see the contrast between what Colby students and what other people from a new stretch of the world view as politically correct.
Sadly, I needed to leave Colby to understand the true worth of debating these issues. It is crucial to continue arguing and discussing multiculturalism, as it ensures that Colby students will be as politically correct as possible and thus will have the ability to see situations from a different perspective. Unfortunately, the rest of the world is not as politically correct as Colby students are. Leaving our "bubble," I wholeheartedly believe that students will gradually make an impact upon the larger global community--as cliché as that may sound. Colby has made me more aware of others' comments, as well as my own actions and comments. I credit Colby for the ability to comprehend the intricacies of our multicultural global community. I'm in the real world and it is because of Colby that I understand it.