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Content Any Way U Want It!

BG Falcon Media

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BG24 Newscast
September 21, 2023

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BG24 Newscast
September 21, 2023

We are a diverse community, divided

In all understanding, I believe this University is a truly diverse school. On an average day, I encounter a wide range of people from different cultures and different races. From religions and ideals, even nationality.

The University, to its credit, has different functions and programs that promote and entrench diversity. The Center for Multicultural and Academic Initiatives oversees a lot of diversity and multicultural programs at the University.

Programs in ethnic studies, Canadian studies, Africana studies as well as German, Russian and East Asian Languages to the Office for Equity and Diversity are all geared towards the noble goals of fostering a vibrant, diverse and multicultural University.

However, from observations I have made over time, the general day-to-day student life and experiences are an antithesis of these initiatives. This is evident flagrantly or subtly.

Walk into the Union between 1 or 2 p.m. or at any other busy time and you will notice a set of specific group dynamics. You would be forgiven to think it is a code, albeit unwritten one. Students cleave along race lines; African Americans will be together and caucasians will be together.

International students, mostly those from Africa and India will also be by different areas. I hardly notice Chinese students at the Union, their sizable number in the University notwithstanding.

Only last week as I walked into the Union with a friend, I decided to watch and see how it plays out. Like a moth to light, each student would unmistakably gravitate to “his/her own” group.

This division is evident outside the Union. In the city’s apartments, students live with “their own,” no, it is not wrong. Just the pattern, it is so brazen and makes me wonder. True, and happily so, there are situations where students from different cultures, races, even nationalities live together in an apartment. However, this is the exception rather than the rule.

This past school year, I lived with a Chinese friend in a part of town I would, if you wish, call China town: The whole apartment block and the one right opposite it was almost 100 percent Chinese student occupied. Some of our friends, when visiting would look at either of us askance, wondering, possibly, why isn’t each living with a fellow Chinese or a fellow African.

I also was amused that the same remains in downtown clubs. When a friend told me that the divide is so conspicuous in the clubs, I decided to go see for myself. True, you will find students hanging out in homogenous groups.

Something else that struck me is that students who patronize the clubs are either American or international students, mainly from Africa. I did not meet any Asian students out there.

When I asked a Chinese friend why he does not go out to the downtown clubs, he told me that he would feel lost in the “American” noise and camaraderie that goes on in the clubs. In any case, he continued, he would feel out of place as the clubs had nothing that would appeal to his cultural, national or musical senses.

This characteristic is also evident in areas that I would not expect: student employment. Most student employees in the various dining facilities across the University are staffed by Americans and international students, mostly Africans. In other places like the bookstore or the information desk, I have only seen American students.

One hardly notices Indian or Chinese students working at the Union or in the other general work areas across campus.

Diversity is a good thing. The University does its part to facilitate diversity, multiculturalism and a sense of together; we can build a strong community, a strong world. It is our call as students to rise above our comfort zones and step outside ourselves to look at the world beyond.

Honestly, I believe that this University, the city and the community at large would be a better place if we all get involved in fostering a true sense of diversity. It all starts with a conscientious and deliberate effort to learn about another culture, another language, another nation. This is what makes the world go round.

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