By Jewell Porter
Over the years, diversity has become increasingly important to administrators at Denison. Officials boasted last semester that our most recent incoming class of first year students is the most diverse Denison has ever seen.
While it’s great that administrators are placing an increased value on accepting a pool of students of different sexual orientations, varying socioeconomic classes and manifold racial and cultural backgrounds, it’s important that we, as a student body, embrace this as well.
On the one hand, there is evidence of students accepting the growing diversity of our student body. For example, last semester during the student protests led by Maya Washington-Ziegler, Nicki Hurley and Nelly Benitez, and the protest led by the NPHC executive board, students of all backgrounds protested in solidarity with their peers, but that was also a time of crisis.
During the later months of 2014, protests against police brutality were organized and held worldwide. This was highlighted all over Buzzfeed, the NY Times, the Washington-Post and other online publications read regularly by Denison students. The protests also dominated social media outlets.
This time of crisis incited a cry for reform of laws regarding regulation of police departments all over the country and justice for the loss of the lives of men like Eric Garner and Mike Brown, so this naturally spilled over into the topics of conversation of the average Denison student.
While I am proud of my fellow Denisonians for taking time out of their days to show support for these causes, I still find myself wondering where that activism is when their isn’t an immediate sense of crisis or urgency dominating social media, the news or local campus politics. The fact of the matter is that institutionalized racism and sexism are inherent in the society we live in.
Women still make less money than men for working the same jobs in the workplace.
People of color who have names that are not traditional often face preconceived judgements about who they are.
Homosexual people are often criticized for their sexual preference before they are understood as people.
This is a problem that is deep-rooted in our society, and that is often conceived to be too big for us to fix as college students, but the often said yet rarely believed truth is that change starts with us.
It’s up to people like us to change the way that we respond to situations of injustice and place greater importance in engaging in important discourse about inequality whenever and wherever we can, whether it’s educating our parents about the importance of diversity or regularly attending Denison Feminists meetings.
It’s important that we don’t lose that fire we all felt when Darren Wilson was not indicted for murdering Mike Brown and remember that there are injustices that we need to combat on a daily basis in any way that we can.
We have to fight against the stigma that if you’re not black or homosexual or a woman, then these issues don’t apply to you because as the late Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”