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Beauty in diversity: Embracing a multicultural campus

By Myron MathisCOLUMNIST

Harvard University, California State University and the University of Washington are among several schools that are beginning to mandate race relations classes as a part of their curriculum. With Hofstra’s culturally varied student body, advocacy of universal acceptance and P.R.I.D.E. principles, we are the ideal school to partake in such an endeavor.

Hofstra already requires its students to take distribution classes that have absolutely nothing to do with their major or field of study. Why not mandate a class that can help us grow as people and improve our socializing capabilities?

As time progresses, the world, our nation, our state and even our campus are becoming increasingly diverse, which puts Hofstra students at an advantage because there is so much to be gained from interacting with people from all walks of life. No one knows everything, but everyone knows something. Having open dialogue with those around us and embracing their mixed backgrounds is essential in developing college students’ perspectives.

The inability to deftly navigate interracial interactions is what prevents us from comfortably communicating with people of different backgrounds. Conflicts can arise from insensitivities in daily conversation. For example, your buddy makes a politically incorrect remark, then leans in and asks, “Hey, you don’t get offended when I say this word in front of you, right?” or “Do you mind these jokes? We do them about everyone.”

While it is great to have a sense of humor, someone is almost always bound to take a joke too far and genuinely offend a friend. We should not have to tip toe around topics of conversation while grabbing food from the Student Center.

Another popular area of multicultural conversation is what it is to be of any certain race in America. Whether it’s black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Indian or any other race with which one may identify, everyone has his or her own take on the realities of racial biases in America.

Unless we figure out a way to dress up as another race in a socially acceptable manner, we’ll never know what it is like for people of races different from our own to go about life in this country. So why don’t we stop having contentious debates about who has it harder?

Everyone has it pretty hard right now. The last time I checked, our economy has not fully recovered from the economic downturn that fueled the collapse of the housing market in the late 2000’s.

After years of tumult, pain and anguish, everyone has enough on their plate. Therefore, we need to embrace the diversity around us and the little quirks that people of different races have. There is beauty in diversity and we cannot turn our backs on the melting pot now.

The views and opinions expressed in the Op-Ed section are those of the authors of the articles. They are not an endorsement of the views of The Chronicle or its staff. The Chronicle does not discriminate based on the opinions of the authors.

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