Martin is a senior public relations and theatre arts major and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the last few weeks, many students have heard of the issues regarding discrimination, and that buzz word we all love: diversity. As a student of color on a predominately white campus, this is a word used often and has become a sensationalized answer to a bigger problem. The issue lies not with increasing diversity, or creating a spirit of tolerance. The issue is simply this: there are frankly too many white students at this school. *Insert GASP*
Yes. I said what many think on a day-to-day basis and may be afraid to say or don’t know how to say. When you discuss things such as diversity, discrimination and the changing of mindsets, the key to the issue is summed up very simply. Are there enough people at this institution that do not look like me?
A white, Midwestern, middle-class student at this university that is already coming from a predominately white, middle-class, Midwestern area could go their entire four to six years here with little to no contact with another student outside of that same group of people. A student that does not fall into that category of student has the adverse experience. They spend their time here learning the ropes of how to mix and mingle with those students while fighting to maintain semblances of cultural and racial normalcy.
Any student of color on this campus leaves here more equipped to deal with different cultures, peoples and races than most white students could ever imagine. Specifically, we leave here with a very efficient knowledge of how to deal with white America, which is key to survival in the modern competitive world. I did not write this column to call Drake’s white student population racist. I simply think it is important to point out how quickly some of us forget things. Just a week ago, the “campus” was in an uproar as news spread about an incident of racial profiling that took place. Now, a week later, many are in the middle of tackling more important world issues. You know, like purchasing your Relays gear and planning to get as drunk as possible during a tradition over a century old. I challenge you all, regardless of skin color, to ask yourself one question: what have I done during my time here to truly connect with someone else outside of my own background?
I think many still believe that the incident that took place on March 3, 2012 was an isolated incident. Many of the students involved have said publicly and privately that it was not. What we didn’t do was mention the instance early last semester as a group of black students was walking to my car when an intoxicated young lady yelled: “Tell those niggers to shut up. Look at those niggers.” Or the annual occurrence of sitting in a sociology class and being the only black person there as your professor talks about how statistically there have always been more black men in prison than in college. We don’t want you to put yourself in our shoes because frankly many of you couldn’t take one step in them. We want you to act and to aid us in combating these things from within our campus. Kill the apathy. Hold yourselves and your peers responsible.