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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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LTTE: CSU needs mandatory diversity classes

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board. Letters to the Editor reflect the view of a member of the campus community and are submitted to the publication for approval.

To the Editor,

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For the past five years that I have attended Colorado State University, there have been racist incidents each year, much like clockwork. However, this year, an incident has made national news, and finally some attention has been brought to this wave of racism.

As most of you could guess, the incident I am referring to is the blackface photo that was posted on social media early in September. In the photo, four white CSU students can be seen posing and referencing the “Black Panther” movie. In response, CSU administrators haven’t done anything, and many students are asking the question, “When is enough going to be enough?”

It’s finally time for something to be done, and like most situations, education is the best place to start.

After the blackface incident, many CSU students felt scared, hurt, confused and angered. How could someone get away with a clearly racially motivated act? Yes, freedom of speech can pertain to this situation, but for all of the minority students on campus and those looking to attend CSU, it feels like a slap in the face. Students have previously stated to The Collegian that they feel unsafe and threatened by just walking on campus.

During the Associated Students of CSU Senate meeting in September, I heard a student state that she had planned to attend this University, but after this incident, she will be reconsidering her choice. CSU is losing students and plummeting in the public eye — it’s finally time for all of us to have an honest conversation about racism and implement diversity education into the CSU curriculum.

CSU, and many other universities, requires students to become literate in English, math, history and social sciences. However, no classes are mandatory for becoming racially literate. As Daisy Verduzco Reyes states, for college students to become racially literate, the entire campus needs to have basic knowledge of the historical processes of inclusion, exclusion and the difference between the two.

If CSU continues to remain complacent with each racially motivated incident, they will become active members of systematic oppression.”

CSU requires students to take some form of history, and many students chose to take American history, which is primarily from a white colonizer’s point of view. By doing this, countless students are not exposed to other ethnic and racial histories besides their own.

A diversity class is needed to educate students on the differences between race and ethnicity, the history of oppression and intolerance and briefly go over American history from the perspective of minorities.

Many students on CSU’s campus have not been exposed to this information and will be much more likely to commit a racist act because of it. A study was conducted to see if diversity education made a difference in students’ views and actions. The results showed that students who didn’t take a diversity class were less tolerant of social diversity than those who did. The need and the research are there — it’s time for implementation.

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Diversity classes can be seen as “liberal” education and “leftist” rhetoric, which turns off many conservative thinkers from the idea. However, the racial ignorance and shortcomings of students fall into the lap of all educators. If CSU continues to remain complacent with each racially motivated incident, they will become active members of systematic oppression.

All students must be educated and well-versed to become active members of society, and CSU is failing them by not setting them up for success. Action needs to be taken, all students need to be protected and ignorance needs to be fought with education. Research has shown that diversity classes work toward shifting student’s views, and the time for that change is now. CSU finally needs to stand up against racism and step out of their complacency.

Maya Stiles

CSU social work master’s student 

The Collegian’s opinion desk can be reached at letters@collegian.com. To submit a letter to the editor, please follow the guidelines at collegian.com.  

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