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My Radical Opinion on Diversity

My Radical Opinion on Diversity

Nowadays, it seems like every college, company, and brand is throwing around phrases like “Black Lives Matter,” “Representation Matters,” “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,” and so on. Among others, these phrases help viewers and buyers figure out if they would like to support or “cancel” a brand. For many white people, these are phrases that are used interchangeably in conversations to prove that they aren’t racist. My question is, do these predominantly white brands and individuals understand the burden that is put on BIPOC communities to constantly share their identities and experiences? 

In my 21 years of life, I have had more conversations about my identity and “what it means to me” than I would like to. I am very proud to be a Black woman and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like to just simply exist. 

At predominantly white institutions like Loyola, students of color are forced to combat microaggressions, imposter syndrome, and internal identity battles at higher rates than their white peers. From the moment we checked off our racial and ethnic backgrounds on our enrollment application, we have been put into a box— a box that forces us to be made painfully aware that we should feel lucky to be here, and that we have so much to offer to our white peers and instructors about our own personal identities. In this case, we have become the teachers of racial problems and the poster children for diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. It is almost a joke to be asked about my experience as a person of color on this campus when I so rarely see people that look like me in classrooms. It’s even harder to find a warm welcome here when the majority of my professors are white. I have had approximately four teachers of color in my three years of attending Loyola, and two of them have gone off to teach at other universities.
If these predominantly white companies and institutions want to prove that diversity is important and that “representation matters,” perhaps they should hire and promote more people of color. They need to actively “walk the walk” instead of just “talk the talk”. A perfect example of this would be for Loyola to hire and promote more faculty members of color so that all students feel seen on this campus. Additionally, conversations about race should be actively held in all classrooms instead of hosting optional discussions, where the students that should be present usually are not. And most importantly, stop forcing the students of color here to be the voice for our people. We live this experience every day and are exhausted from teaching others that racism, colorism, sexism, and all other forms of -isms and -phobias are not okay.

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

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My Radical Opinion on Diversity