Diversity At UNG: Living In A Box
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Politics and Activism

Diversity At UNG: Living In A Box

There is no question that the University of North Georgia is a predominantly white campus. Apart from our beloved foreign exchange students, there are very few minorities of race and ethnicity represented in our school's student population. The question is, how does that affect us? Why is that an issue and what does it mean for us?

Diversity At UNG: Living In A Box

Although I love North Georgia and its home-sweet-home, all-American authenticity, I think its lack of diversity can be detrimental to us because we miss out on experiencing cultures and perspectives different from our own— something I personally believe is a great gift we have on this earth and a part of life, essential to our very existence. Diversity of thought and tradition comes with diversity of race and social background. It's important to learn about and talk to people from distinctive circumstances because without that self-accentuating contrast, we are living in a box.

Sometimes UNG can be a box. Everyday, in and out of class we talk to our friends of the same race, social class, religion, etc. How can we understand who we are if we never know anything other than what we have known our entire life? I believe living in this box can result in ignorance, weak faith and a limited perspective on the complicated nature of the world.

When you get a flu shot or any vaccine like it, the doctor is essentially injecting you with the virus so that your body can build up antibodies to become stronger and defend the virus in the future. This same process happens with our thoughts and perspectives. When we practice talking to others about our faith or our understanding of political and social issues, it strengthens our ideas and makes us realize why we believe the things we believe in the first place. Without talking to others who differ in opinion from us and getting out of that closed box, we have a weak sense of what we understand to be true and even more, what we understand about ourselves. Diversity is essential in making us realize who we actually are.

It's an easy explanation as to why we like the box. We are comfortable talking to people just like us. Because we share similar social categories, its easier for me to relate to my roommate. Its easier for me to joke with her about our seemingly identical everyday issues. But it's the in-depth conversations I have with her about our differing viewpoints on feminism and religion that bring us out of the box and help us grow and become stronger, smarter individuals. Small glimpses of diversity like that are why I believe we cannot become complacent in our love for comfort. Complacency is an injustice to our quest for joy and wisdom. This is why we travel and leave the cushiony interiors of our American lives to seek foreign beauty. We voyage for spectacle because frankly, comfort can be boring. Sometimes we step out of the box simply because we are tired of the same old suffocating thing.

Sometimes, UNG can be suffocating.

I love all the people around me here. I love my white middle-class friends and my white roommate and my white boyfriend. But I miss the vibrant colors of my home back in Columbus, GA. Nearby the Fort Benning military base, Columbus has a pretty extensive variety of culture and minority representation due to the influx of military from around the world. Members of many economic and social classes reside there. It has thus begun to bud into a flourishing society of modern enlightenment. I am who I am today because of the eye-opening experiences and conversations that took place there. I love my hometown for that.

And while I also love Dahlonega and UNG, I believe that its lack of diversity burrows us in this slow setting hum of boredom, ignorance, and complacency.

So what can we do about it?

The best thing we can do is try to make this place open and inviting to our non-white, non-middle class, non-Christian friends. We should step out of the box and fight the stigma that has cemented UNG as a college for only white kids. I hope and pray that future students come here someday and enjoy the soul-defining satisfaction of watching the sun set on the rolling North Georgia horizon alongside their friends from all races, classes, and backgrounds.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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