Opinion: Don’t be afraid to have The Talk
By Avarie Cook
As a “mixed” or “alternative” minority on this campus, I have a lot of trouble blending in (Not that sticking out is a bad thing to me). Coming to this school, I was aware that most of its population is white females, but that seemed way easier to handle in writing than experiencing firsthand.
I have trouble relating to people on this campus because they haven’t experienced what I have. I came from Springfield one of the most diverse cities in Massachusetts. My high school consisted of people from white, black, Hispanic, Asian and Middle Eastern backgrounds. Coming to Framingham State University and seeing white everywhere was somewhat of a culture shock to me.
I’m naturally attracted to those with an open mind as far as friends go. My freshman year, I realized that this is one of many things people on this campus lack. After making friends and talking to them about their beliefs, I learned that many students at FSU will go no further than how they were raised as far as thoughts go.
For example, I asked many students whether they’d consider dating outside of their race. I was surprised to find that almost half of them said no. A large number of white friends I met my freshman year had only known one black person (most likely an African exchange student). Now, during Black History Month, I worry for my fellow students. Who are they learning black culture from? There have been few visitors on campus to talk about black history and black culture. The Black Student Union, the Multicultural Center and the Student Leaders in Diversity are doing the most they can to bring up black culture and help the non-black students become informed.
Personally, I have heard multiple offensive comments from students on this campus about being black – many of them are unaware that they are being offensive. Professors have referred to my friends as my “homies,” I constantly receive requests to touch my hair and questions about “how it got that way.”
The ignorance is what alarms me. FSU needs to recognize the position of black students, even minority students, on this campus and find ways to incorporate their culture into campus life. The non-black students need a way to become informed from the right people who know what they’re talking about. We need more guest lectures, like Sharon Robinson and Junot Diaz, that will get these topics talked about instead of avoided. More discussions need to occur and white students need to attend them.
Too many times I have looked around the room and realized I am the only minority in it. These
situations need to be talked about in order to be fixed. I am just one mixed girl constantly talking about race and that is not enough.