Happy Martin Luther King, Jr Day, January 16, 2012! Many colleges in the U.S. mark this day with some kind of commemorative event. Metropolitan State College of Denver, where I teach, hosts a huge breakfast in honor of the holiday featuring a speaker, or sometimes performers. While I didn’t attend this year, I have memories of moving past programs honoring the Civil Rights leader.
Observance of Diversity on College Campuses
Something that I thought of today has to do with how diversity and inequality is observed in college curricula. I am very proud that two of the campuses where I have taught feature a requirement that asks students to consider these social realities. While some may regard a diversity or multicultural requirement to be a mark of political correctness, I disagree. One of my regular classes, Sociology of Prejudice and Discrimination, gives students a platform to consider what conditions give rise to systems of oppression, and what experiences, actions and policies diminish them. I don’t expect my students to agree with me or with each other on these issues, but rather to consider the questions with open hearts and minds, and come to their own conclusions.
In my opinion the presence of such a requirement in the curriculum of a college is an indication of broad, inclusive thinking, and also a commitment to underrepresented student populations, for the examination of multiple realities often helps students from a range of backgrounds feel valued, and validated.
I encourage my clients to examine the curricular requirements of colleges they’re considering, and I hope that examination of the vast range of human experience is a part of what they are seeking.