Ways to address diversity
Diversity has become the go-to buzz word around school over the past few semesters, and with good reason. Over my three years here, I have seen the idea of appreciation and acceptance for diversity grow into an issue of greater and greater importance, with more and more people involved. Educating students about all different types of diversity is a goal that this campus has rightfully committed itself to.
While the demographics of Colby may not be perfectly diverse, the school and student body strive to offer a plethora of outlets for students to explore and to learn about all the various types of diversity that characterize this campus. Upon first look at Colby it may seem that diversity may not hit one over the head, however for students who are interested broadening their understanding of the issue, there are available avenues to do so.
I raise this point because I understand that there are many students who come into Colby with little exposure to diversity issues. Growing up and going through high school, there are many people here who were not exposed to the same types of diversity, racial, gender or otherwise, that flourish here at Colby. When someone has been raised in such a situation they have not necessarily had the opportunity to develop the same appreciation and understanding for diversity that others who grew up under different circumstances may have had. This is not something that I necessarily think people should be faulted for. People cannot be blamed for the circumstances they were raised in and the effect it has had on them.
That being said, one’s upbringing and environment cannot be used as an excuse for ignorance and bigotry. These are not things that can be tolerated or accepted at Colby or anywhere. While I do argue that coming into Colby many students do not have an appreciation for or understanding of diversity, this does not give them a right to remain in that state. An appreciation and understanding for diversity is something that is important to not only life here at Colby, but also in the greater world. It is the building block for communities everywhere, and only becoming more and more important with growing globalization. With this in mind there are many opportunities at Colby for students to educate themselves and broaden their understanding. From the Pugh Center and its clubs, to PC Coffee, to Campus Conversations on Race, there are opportunities for ongoing education about diversity that are available.
My goal in writing this piece is not to excuse those who live in ignorance or propagate bigotry. Rather it is to encourage every person here to take advantage of the opportunities available here on campus to broaden their understanding and appreciation for diversity. In addition however I would also like to point out that many students come into Colby without much exposure to diversity issues and that because of this, for many students the appreciation for diversity does not come as naturally or as easily. The fierce urgency of now encourages all of us to broaden our understanding and appreciation for each other, but I also firmly believe that while bigotry may be a vice, patience is also a virtue. I think understanding that not everyone has the same experience level with diversity could go a long way towards helping him or her learn more about it, and increase the overall tolerance on campus, and helping educate our community on these important issues.