Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What if the women united?

On Friday the 23rd, a group of students marched across campus to protest the racism on campus after an article published in the Maroon News titled "If Only Everyone Were White" generated a slew up inappropriate, racist, and sexist responses.
I deeply admired this groups of students for trying raise awareness about the long way racial equality and inclusivity Colgate still has to go. However, as a minority person myself, I do not believe administrative action is the way nor will administrative action occur. Higher ed is as much a business as it is an educational institution (I believe I attend a fine institution). The websites and pamphlets advertising smiling groups of ethnic and international students will be printed out and sent to prospective international and non-white students who will be made to believe that Colgate is a diverse and welcoming place. I remember receiving such a pamphlet my senior year of high school and though I didn't come to Colgate believing in the promise of diversity, I can attest that half of what the pamphlet said was outdated or exaggerated.
It's not that I have no faith in the administration, I just think there are ways to address this issue through the students directly and in particular, through women. One of the reasons I enjoy WMST Brown Bags is that you can see a diverse group of women (as well as men) sitting in one room. The women's movement has never been a united front in terms of race but I sometimes wonder had the black, white, Asian, hispanic, and all race of women been united for the movement, could they have killed two birds with one stone by taking down both the gender and racial barriers?
Here at Colgate, there are still gender discrimination in particular, sexual assault which happens all women, regardless of race. Sexual assault on this campus also often goes unreported. If a diverse group of women on campus can join together to fight sexual assault on campus and encourage women to report assault, perhaps they will break down the racial barriers while doing so. Colgate already has an established system to help those who have experienced assault, it is just up to the students to report.
Race and gender often go hand in hand and maybe the unity of a diverse group of women can lead through a breakthrough on the racial front.

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