Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Diversity on campus isn’t just about skin color

<lass="page layoutArea" title="Page 1">

“I would like to thank Ben and Matt for raising the issue of having a diversity survey. I don’t think it should be the same diversity as the student body. We should be more diverse. The last two executive boards have been all white.”

“I believe we should represent Carleton proportionally. Carleton is predominately white. It makes sense that the Senate is majority white. There isn’t a lot of diversity.”

A lot has been said about these comments around campus and on social media lately, but most of the outrage, I believe, has missed the point.

The second comment has been the center of the campus’ attention, but the fault in his argument is no different than the one in the first comment. Everyone accepts that the last two executive boards have been all white. But why should that be any sort of litmus test for determining whether or not diversity exists in that group of students? Of course, race can be an important indicator of diversity, but to say that it is the only indicator is not only absurd, but rude. That’s the definition our parents grew up with. It’s a lifeless understanding of societal differences that comes straight from the 1960’s. If we truly consider ourselves the progressive members of society that we profess to be, it’s time to change the way we’re thinking about this.

Where the second comment surpasses the first in its level of flawed comprehension is in his assertion that Carleton doesn’t have a lot of diversity. [It quite frankly makes him sound more like a nihilistic teenager than a senator.] The only possible way you could arrive at that conclusion after spending even 1 academic term at Carleton is if you either only surrounded yourself with friends from high school or literally never left your dorm room (and lived in a single, which means you’d probably have been here for more than a year, which would make staying in your room the whole time quite an accomplishment). Or, I suppose the more likely cause might have been studying in an academic community that conditions you to think of diversity as a purely racial concept.

Aye, there’s the rub!

So the next time you are about to make a comment about how there isn’t a lot of diversity on campus, I encourage you to think beyond race. Think about class statuses, sexual orientations, gender identities, religious preferences, and political views. Consider that the diversity between you and your classmates extends far beyond the difference in your skin colors – or so I would hope.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *