March 31, 2011


Each month, we feature posts written by the work study students in the Intercultural Resource Center. These works are unedited and are in their own words.

Why I Chose Stonehill by Johnny Josephy

I chose Stonehill College because it is a beautiful campus, I like the competiveness of the classes, and most importantly Stonehill really helps people financially. I did not really know the reality of Stonehill College until a few weeks of experience.  I have notice that people are friendly and willing to help you, and this school is not really for those who love to party all the time and hates doing school work. There are not a lot of people of color at Stonehill College, and certainly not a lot of French people of color.  I feel like in certain occasion, being as diverse as I am helps me accomplish things that I have accomplished at Stonehill.  For example, when I applied to be a peer mentor, I did not look at how many people applied for it.  All I had to do was to be myself and let my inside voice speak for itself both on my essay and interview. 
            The only “down side” of being French and having a French accent is sometime having to repeat what you  are trying to say a couple times before someone gets the message.  Some students here at Stonehill, mostly my teammates and close friends, enjoy imitating the way I speak.  I do not mind that at all because it is who I am and I cannot change the fact that I grew up with French and not English.
             Being a black student-athlete, mostly a football player here at Stonehill, I feel like everyone is trying to get you and at the same time respect you. I say that because every time something bad happens on campus, I heard that some of the questions they ask are and I quote, “Was he a football player?” And when the answer is “yes”, their reaction pretty much says, I knew it.  Being one of the few black kids in my classes, the professors easily know when I am participating or not participating.
            At the end of the day, I am proud to be a French black student-athlete. It does not matter of who you are, the color of your skin, or your background, it all comes down to who wants to be successful.  I strive to perfection. I use my culture diversity to my own advantage.

By Wanny Munoz:

“Listen, Digest, Speak”
Written By: Wanny Munoz

Think about all the people you come in contact with throughout your lifetime
Hundreds, thousands even millions
From your bank teller to your mechanic, they all have an identity.
A story.
One they can call their own

Within those stories roots Diversity.

Ever thought that maybe life would be a little easier
If half the time you spent judging a person, you were asking them a valid question
Every question would be taking one step closer to their reality
Another step to education and understanding

People are afraid of the unknown
But avoiding what we call unknown is never expanding, never learning, never living
Why else do we live if not for those very things?

Within those fears roots Diversity.

I know I am not the only one that didn’t choose the family I was born into,
Didn’t choose to be the daughter of two immigrants either
The same way I didn’t choose to be a bisexual woman
Some parts of our identity are out of our hands

Within those traits roots Diversity

Who doesn’t seek acceptance?
No one.
Acceptance from family, peers, even mere strangers, but most importantly from ourselves.
The image a mirror reflects can be difficult to embrace,
The perceptions others have are always hard to erase

Who we are and who we want to be don’t always correlate
The changes you seek aren’t the ones you might necessarily need
But still you search and move along towards who you believe you want to be

Within this constant search roots Diversity

Diversity is the compilation of stories
Those that have been past down for centuries
Each narrator along with its audience filled with fear.
A fear that never sleeps,
A fear that comes hand in hand with judgement
A judgement that only sleeps once it’s faced with acceptance
An acceptance we all long for and seek
And from all that emerges another story
Giving another narrator the chance to speak

Within this cycle roots the meaning of Diversity

From Randall Phyall, Coordinator of Intercultural Affairs
What’s in a name?

In a speech I gave a few weeks ago at the Black History Month Convocation, I made reference to my name and its significance throughout my identity development. My name was given to me by my parents, whom sought to create a world in which my every goal was attainable. Whether they did so consciously or subconsciously, my name played an integral role in the construction of this world—my world.

Growing up, my name did not have as much significance to me. On the occasion that it was misspelled or mispronounced, I tended to excuse it rather quickly. In fact, I appreciated it when my friends would use variations of my name such as “Ran, Pholly, Randoo, or Rizza” because I viewed them all as terms of endearment. I felt like I was a part of the “in-group” and therefore felt validated.

In our last M.O.S.A.I.C. (men of color group) meeting, we did an activity that asked members to reflect on the significance of a name and the role that it played in identity development. The activity required them to list their reactions to each of the nine names listed. The names were not fabricated and ranged from outlandish to culturally-specific. The activity was rather simple, but the dialogue to follow was substantial. When asked to share their reactions, the men were able to offer myriad perspectives. Some of the responses referred to the status, ethnicity, reputation, values, profession, character, family background, culture, and many other distinguishing characteristics. It was rather interesting to see how much was drawn out of simply reading someone’s name.

If we apply it to real-world contexts, how often do we make assumptions of or pass judgment on others based on their name? This seemingly insignificant nuance has a lot more power to it than I thought. A name alone has the ability to divide, marginalize, and oppress people. On the other hand, a name has the ability to communicate status, authority, ownership, and honor. This activity helped to heighten my level of appreciation for my name and my parents who gave it to me.          

 Over the past few years, I have developed a deeper sense of attachment to my name; my “government name” so to speak. When I use the name Randall Laurence Phyall, I am representing my family as well as me. I have a feeling of pride and responsibility when I think about how intentional my parents were in choosing each part of my name. For example, “Laurence” is the extended version of my father’s first name Larry. I often envision my father entrusting it to me almost as if it’s an artifact being passed down from generation to generation. Therefore, it is my responsibility to portray an image of myself that is a testament to the values, beliefs, and culture in which I was raised.

Ultimately, I take ownership of my name.  Despite the many ways in which others can misperceive me because of it. Taking ownership, affords me the right to create my own sense of meaning behind my name. My name is the foundation on which I base my identity. Therefore, a name is something that I seek to legitimize not minimize.   

-Randall Phyall