By Kierra Whitaker, The Whetstone
There are many student organizations on campus.
But why aren’t they diverse?
What can we do to make them more diverse?
As my sophomore year comes to a close, I’ve noticed that Wesley’s student body has a lot of work to do about both race and diversity.
Are at least some organizations not diverse because of their names?
Some students think that the Black Student Union and the African Student Association are targeted to a specific group. These organizations repeat that all are welcome.
Just because these organizations have “African” and “Black” in their names, doesn’t mean those who aren’t African or black are not welcome.
Some or even many white students say they are uncomfortable with those groups because of the names.
BSU’s Vice President Laurelyn Richardson, who is white, said she understood what BSU stood for and its mission.
BSU was founded on the principles of empowerment, support, and education, founded by blacks who never felt empowered or supported.
I understand the attitude of white students who say they are uncomfortable. If something in the name does not fit or relate to me, I might not attend, either – at least at first.
If there was a White Student Union, would that be fair or equivalent? And would black students not go to its meetings?
Let’s face it. There is a historical reason why the Black Student Union was founded.
So that African American students could voice their issues and opinions about oppression and prejudice. African Americans needed a safe platform from which to speak.
The history behind a White Student Union would not be the same.
Let’s look at the truth more closely. Let’s not ignore history.
But we also can move on.
In order to promote diversity around campus, starting with organizations, perhaps we need to develop “cultural inclusion” and “diversity” workshops.
These workshops would help, at least, bring awareness to campus. The workshop could give tips on how to make diversity stronger and noticeable so we could stop awkwardness.
Maybe organizations can co-sponsor events with orgs that are racially different.
Let’s try it out.
There are a lot of faculty and staff who would like to help bring diversity to Wesley. I’ve talked to them.
But students must be willing to act.
As a community and a school we must embrace each other to move forward.