LTTE: We need mandatory diversity education at CSU

Guest Author

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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It’s time that Colorado State University acts as a front-runner of diversity, acceptance and appreciation for all people. It is our obligation to form a student and faculty body that emulates cultural sensitivity. We need to educate not only our Ram community but all those we impact in our daily interactions.

The current culture we immerse ourselves in thrives on treating everyone equally, not being equitable. By following the color-blind movement, we are perpetuating the idea that history can be erased and the horrific actions taken against marginalized populations do not matter.

Without the knowledge of how racism is pervasive in today’s society and its roots within each and every one of us, we cannot recognize and/or move toward a society in which people of color are able to express the extensive effect of modern-day racism without white fragility getting in the way.

The effects of color-blindness are associated with irrational fears of people of color. In light of the May 2018 event, in which two prospective students were pulled from a tour of CSU, prospective students and anyone attending a tour of CSU should be required to watch a video about culture sensitivity. In addition, all tour guides should be mandated to take a cultural diversity training before being able to start the touring process.

When first admitted into CSU, in order to register for classes, students are required to take an alcohol education course and a sexual conduct course. This raises the question of why education surrounding anti-oppressive practice is not required as well.

A required anti-oppressive course will aid in educating admitted students about the current climate of racism.

Without the proper education about racism and oppression, we are living in a society that is OK with being color-blind. This dangerous perception of race leads to a decrease in openness about diversity, limited interest in diversity courses and lack of attendance at University sponsored diversity events.

For every major at CSU, there is a certain number of University core curriculum courses all students are required to take, but there is no course required for cultural awareness. A study published in the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education found that taking a diversity class increased interest surrounding diversity issues, leading to more critical thinking.

Implementing a diversity course at CSU for all students would not only benefit students by increasing education about diversity issues, but also lead to increased need for cognition. Additionally, a similar training should be required for all staff at CSU and should be taken at the beginning of every school year.

The current talk surrounding the recent blackface incident, playing it off as an “uneducated mistake,” is a symbol of white supremacy. The history behind blackface and the racial hierarchy that is prevalent today dominates our culture, allowing people to ignore the fact that it was an overt racist act.

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Therefore, as a community, we as Rams need to band together and stand against racism. There have been far too many racist acts on our campus, making it feel unsafe for people of color to attend school here. We need to fight and abide by the values that CSU claims to uphold. A change needs to occur, and action must be taken. We can no longer side-step the horrific racism that has been prevalent within our campus.

Best,

Nicole Tarcha

Bachelor of Social Work; Master of Social Work student