Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Diversity Forum

Sorry for my silence yesterday. I had Irish class in the evening, of course, and spent the workday at a diversity forum. These things always seem so pointless; as one panel member lamented, we always talk about problems, but we never do anything about them. The first panel was interesting because it was called “Diversity in Ideology,” and it featured faculty members from both ends of the political spectrum. I liked that because, while I am not particularly conservative myself, I do feel conservatives are underrepresented in the higher education conversation. At the end of the discussion, the panelists were surprised that they agreed more than they disagreed about the solutions to these problems, and that is what I think too: people of all political stripes who are of good will want what is best for society, at least where the welfare of minorities is concerned. Another panel was on coping strategies for women of color, which was very interesting to me. I am always fascinated by hearing about other people’s experiences. One very bad moment in my life was when I was raving about Door County to a friend who happens to be a minority, and she said her experience there was very negative, and I was shocked and horrified that she would say such a thing – but how could I discount her experience like that? How would I know what it is like to be a minority in Door County? The last panel of the day got kind of contentious because one black lady on it was saying how all white people are racist, meaning we profit from the suppressive system in this country, but white women in the audience kept taking issue with that and saying they weren’t racist, meaning they weren’t personally prejudiced. It seems to me that they were all talking past each other. What struck me the hardest was that while the black ladies were angry, the Native ladies were so sad. Two of them (on different panels) began crying while describing their experiences. You would have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by their plight. The problem is that I have no idea how to change things, and this forum didn’t exactly provide any answers. I get that there aren’t easy answers, but if we all work together, I have hope that we can improve things.

Famous Hat

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