I have always considered myself to be an advocate of diversity. As I embark on this road to fully educate myself with issues of race and diversity, I have already experienced some bumps along the way. These bumps were expected, but I never thought I would be stuck in a ditch.
YIKES. My high school was like a crayon box. There were tons of different colors that worked together to create beautiful pictures. Our clubs, class committees, student councils, and student bodies always had diverse representation. The gay community was accepted. Racism was not a big issue amongst students, and I never really felt discriminated against because of the skin I was in. However, as I came to college I began to see the cultural differences that I had never really paid attention to. I felt like an “other” not because of what social clique I belonged to but because of my skin color. Throughout high school I actively worked to make the race relations in my community even more cohesive and was awarded Princeton Prize for Race Relations. Freshmen year in college was a culture shock. Stonehill had an extreme lack of diversity, in every sense of the word, compared to my high school.
Get it, Got it, GOOD! Why didn’t people understand me? How come they didn’t just get it? Frequently I asked myself these questions. My roommate assumed that I was here because of my color and that my financial aid was solely based on that indisputable fact. Arguing with people who just did not get it was pointless. After consulting my mentor I realized that educating others and becoming an advocate was the greatest proactive solution I could do as a student. Lately I feel as though when dealing with race there are politics that come along with the issue. Freshmen year I became more interested in race relations then I had ever been.
Expirations or limitations. Junior year is finally here and these two years have flown by. In that time I have been involved in Cultural Committee, Diversity on Campus, and in Residence Life. Being a leader (of color) on such a small campus has its advantages and disadvantages. I have now contemplated the ramifications of being a representative. I do not want to be the token black student. I do not want to be the face of diversity for Stonehill simply because of my color. I want to make a difference by using my experiences.
Lately I find myself being asked to be a part of committees, to speak to groups of people, or to take part in leadership iniatives. I benefit because my name gets out there; yet I can’t help but question the motives people have for asking me to do all this.
Am I being asked because my color helps to fill the diversity seat -- the “brown” seat? Or, am I being asked to participate because of my experience? Sometimes this frustrates me, but I know that, even though I may be asked for superficial reasons, I bring a voice that is often ignored or silenced.
I am thankful for this opprtunity because I am dedicated to change, but I always wonder “are they listening”?
Blayne: The Intern