Diversity is a prominent topic of discussion, especially given recent events concerning social justice. People are joining together to advocate for social issues, like protection from police overreach, or the establishment of equal marriage. The change we are seeing, not only in our culture as a whole, but on a lesser scale at CSU, is a positive step toward a more equal society. While I am proud to be a part of the CSU community who fights for what is right, I have recently thought about the internal, hidden diversities we have on campus, and how they are not receiving their due representation.
What do hidden diversities look like, you ask? Hidden diversities are the attributes of individuals that you do not necessarily see right off the bat. This intersectionality can be seen through their experiences, or how they identify among many different minority spectrums that make them unique. There are on-campus organizations geared toward reaching these diverse groups, like the GLBTQQA Resource Center and Culturs Club that focuses on third-culture kids (TCKs). However, there are still innumerable diversities that remain under-discussed.
Intersectionality is not being practiced to its potential. For example, say there is a Latino man who also identifies somewhere along the LBGT spectrum. This individual might feel pigeon-holed by being involved with only one of these organizations, and therefore may suffer a connection with their other identity. If an individual wants to explore other campus communities that they feel connected with, they should feel free to do so. However, the dialogue between intersecting diversities seems to not be a large topic of discussion.
CSU seems to be mainly focused on showing external diversities. A friend of mine who applied for a job within student affairs here on campus did not land the position because they told her they already had enough white women. I understand an organization being inclined to include a range of diversities on their staff, but by denying a qualified individual a position specifically because they are not of a visually subordinated identity is not right either. Race should not interfere with qualifications. Race is a social construct, and if the color of skin really doesn’t matter, then why is there a section of school and job applications asking about it?
There is only so much a brochure with students of different races can do to speak about the diversity at CSU. Further, in a primarily white, middle-class demographic like Fort Collins, it is hard to show every type of external diversity. But what we fail to realize is that diversity is all around us, whether we see it or not. Diversity inhabits more than just skin color. It takes form in race and ethnicity, in gender identification and in those individuals whose worldly experiences many of us may never know.
As a university, we should not hide our diversities. We should pride ourselves in being a part of a community which represents all different backgrounds and experiences. How do we notice these diversities? By talking with people and learning others’ stories. Simply by introducing yourself and befriending each other, we will be able to notice the uniqueness that is in us all. There is more to an individual’s identity than the eye can see. Once we realize this, we will be better off as a community.
Collegian columnist Zara DeGroot can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Zar_degroot.