We Need Minority Counselors On College Campuses

We Need Minority Counselors On College Campuses

We don't have the same resources or support as white and straight individuals have.

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Yes, I know. People are capable of connecting with one another regardless of race, gender, and sexuality. And yes, mental health issues are universal.

However, here's the thing about mental health among the LGBTQ+ community and communities of color- we don't have the same resources or support as white and straight individuals have. More importantly, our marginalized identities often contribute to the mental health issues we might have- at worst within our own families and communities, we are unable to find the help we need. This isn't to say that white and straight individuals don't suffer just as much from mental illnesses on college campuses, but based on the stories I've heard from other POC and queer students about the counseling center and based on my very limited experience there during my first year, the counseling center often fails to address these issues effectively, leaving the student to look to other students for support. Or even worse, the counselors there have only further isolated the very students they are trying to help whether this is by denying the issues of identity that might be affecting the student or even by attributing every problem a student of a marginalized group to their identity. I remember when I interviewed a counselor at the Counseling Office, when I asked her (a white woman by the way) about issues of diversity and identity in relation to mental health, she was struggling. To be more exact, she had no clue what she was talking about.

So what can be done to make this better?

One. Make the counselors (especially the white and straight ones) take diversity courses.

Two. Hire more POC and LGBTQ+ counselors. Not only do they have a more nuanced understanding of race and sexuality, but they would make students of these marginalized identities much more comfortable.

As individuals of non-majority identities, they can better understand the experiences of a queer students or/and a student of color because they too have probably had that experience. White/straight counselors may be able to sympathize to a certain degree, but when it comes to issues of, for example, homophobia or racism, it takes a target of one to understand one.

I'm not saying that people of different races and gender and sexual orientation can't relate to one another. But more importantly, there is something comforting revealing the most intimate parts of yourself to someone who looks like you. Someone who might be able to relate to you experience-wise and even culturally. People might say that they want different types of friends, but really, at the end of the day, the people closest to you tend to look similar to you. That's not a bad thing- it's just what you're used to.

At least that is what I have found. Today, I just came back from a retreat- during it, at one point, I had a pseudo-counseling session (they called it a Sacred Listener session) with a POC grad student. I believe he was South Asian. Still, that was probably the first counseling session that I felt actually better afterwards. I felt…lighter. A little better, which is the goal of counselors in the first place.

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Sorry I'm A Size 00

But I'm not really sorry.
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My whole life I’ve been thin—which is kind of an understatement. Every time I go to the doctor I get the same “you’re underweight” lecture that I’ve heard every year since I was able to form memories. I’ve never really felt insecure about my weight, I love being able to eat everything and not gain a single pound. Since my freshman year of high school I’ve probably only gained 8 pounds and I’m now a sophomore in college. Of course, in school, there were rumors that I was anorexic or bulimic, but everyone who knew me knew that was far from the truth. I’m now 19, 5’2, and I still have yet to break 100 pounds on the scale. It seems that there is a lot of skinny shaming going around and to me, one of the main contributors to that is the Dove Real Beauty campaign.

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this because skinny girls get all the praise and other body types are neglected. That’s really not true, though. While loving other body types, you are tearing down skinny girls. Why is it okay to do that to skinny girls but not to other body types? Why is it okay to say “only dogs like bones” or say “every body type is beautiful” until you see a model's abs, or ribs, or thigh gap and then tear them down because they’re “unnaturally” skinny?



The point I’m trying to make is that, as a naturally skinny girl, I have never shamed anyone for their body type, yet I go every day and get at least two comments about my weight. I’m always the skinny girl, the toothpick, but I’m not Jessica. Yeah, I’m a size 00. Get over it. If you have an issue with my body and feel like my body is disgusting to you, don’t look at it. I know that I’m healthy and I don’t need your input when my body just naturally burns calories fast. I don’t have an eating disorder and never have. I am real beauty though, and I know that because I’m comfortable in my own skin. So maybe the real issue is that we as a society have been shoving certain body types down our daughters’ throats so they begin to romanticize models that have certain standards that they have to meet, who work hard for the bodies that they have, and are making a hell of a lot more money than most of the people discussing why they look emaciated while what they’re actually looking at is the photoshopped product.

I’m not going to apologize for being skinny when that is just how my body is, I can’t help it. So please, stop tearing my body down while trying to bring your body up. You can praise your body without shaming skinny girls. Shaming me for being thin does not make you better than the man that shamed your body, just as me shaming you for being curvy does not make me better than the man that shamed my body. As women, we need to love each other because we are the only ones who truly understand each other.


Cover Image Credit: Victoria's Secret Untouched

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Smile, Laugh, Cry...It's ok

Isn't it amazing that our body literally cannot contain the amount of joy we are feeling, so we laugh.

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How great is it that you have someone in this world who has the ability to make you happy, excited, or even sad. How lucky are you that someone means so much to you that you are able to feel so deeply as to what their opinion of you means. Some may think it's a bad thing to let someone affect your emotions, but I think it means you're human. Emotions are the best gift that we were given. Isn't it amazing that our body literally cannot contain the amount of joy we are feeling, so we laugh. Or that we could be so hurt that tears run down our face.

Yeah, being sad isn't fun and at the time you want that feeling to go away (which it will) but just imagine what your life would be like if you couldn't feel sad? or you didn't have the ability to feel the amazing feeling of pure happiness. I would rather deal with the pain of hurting for a while than to have the option of never having to feel it again because it makes you a real person. It shows you what your morals are. These emotions help you figure out how you want to live your life. We feel emotions that we may not even realize. And sometimes you may never really know what's going on in that complicated mind of yours, but your body will literally force you to figure it out.

Also, the best thing about these emotions is they show you who really should be in your life. The more the actions of someone else affects you, shows how much they mean to you. All these emotions that you hate feeling like guilt, jealousy, hatred, grief, resent, these help you and they lead to great things such as being happy. Be thankful you have the ability to feel so much and so powerfully and be thankful that you have people in your life that can cause pure joy. Because one day if you woke up without these feelings, you'd want them back.

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