New approaches

In the “NIU Speaks” column of The Northern Star of Oct. 8 several students spoke out against the need for a multicultural class. A few of the opinions expressed were completely ignorant and outright offensive such as: “I am a white male and I know all I need to know about the other races and there is nothing else I care to know.” and “I see this as a nonsense class, and I don’t think the two races (black and white) can live together…” Hello? Wasn’t this a multicultural class? What about the rest of the world’s population that isn’t black or white? People seem to be afraid the administration is trying to force them to think a certain way or to push some dogma on them. Come on people, no one can force you to believe something you don’t. How many classes have we all taken that we don’t remember anything about? Still, the student reactions reflect the common perception that that whole multicultural program is being done for public relations purposes. We are suggesting two approaches to remove this image. First, the administration needs to stress the multicultural aspect more strongly. The best way to do this is to offer not one but several classes to choose from with a variety of topics. In fact, many of these classes already exist. What is Anthropology if not multiculturalism? Second, they need to be clearer as to who is coordinating the program in general and who is organizing the class. For example, has anyone ever consulted the Anthropology department? Have other departments been consulted that have something to offer such as History, Foreign Language, Art, etc.? Until the administration addresses these two issues, the whole multicultural program will continue to be seen as primarily a political ploy.

NIU Anthropology Association