Many missed point of Diversity events

Unity Through Diversity Week is fading fast in the minds and memories of some people on the NIU campus. The spirit of community that created the week is getting lost in the “poor me” attitudes of people who obviously totally missed the point.

Unity Through Diversity was not intended as a week spent berating white heterosexual males for not being more tolerant of those who come from different races, cultures, sexual orientations and genders. The week was intended to be educational for everyone—to foster appreciation of the advantages of a pluralistic society.

The point—for those of you who didn’t get it—was to address the root cause of racism, sexism and anti-gay hysteria. Ignorance. People fear that which they don’t understand. They can’t understand that which they know nothing about. Thus, the week of lectures, workshops and culture-specific activities.

No one ever said every white on this campus is a bigot. But clearly some are, or there wouldn’t be a problem. For example, there would have been no hateful anti-black fliers on the Huskie buses last spring. And the Huskie quarterback would not have been subjected to degrading comments shouted from the stands early this fall.

No one ever said that anyone who didn’t participate in Unity Through Diversity Week was proving they’re a racist. Jon Dalton, vice president for student affairs, said he thought not everyone could be involved in the scheduled events, but everyone was aware of them. He clearly didn’t think those who could not participate were racists.

And certainly no one ever said white people should be ashamed of themselves simply because they’re white. The people who organized Unity Through Diversity Week do not advocate a beige society. What they advocate is understanding and appreciation of the contributions of all cultures, all races, all sexes and all lifestyles. Surely that’s not too much to ask.

It’s too bad that some people are “sick to death” of the attempts of the NIU community to remedy a very real problem. It’s so real, in fact, it’s been written and talked about at length in the national news media.

opefully, most people at NIU will have a natural immunity to this new virus and the university community can continue to address its problems in a mature, educated manner.