Diversity is more than black and white

rebecca zollZoll points out that diversity is more than  a person’s skin color and  that students should look beyond that classification of diversity.

“Everyone says that this school is so diverse, but it’s all black and white  students.” I overhear students make that statement often, which prompted me to make students aware that diversity goes beyond black and white.

Diversity is a major factor that makes Temple stand out. As a matter of fact, diversity is the main reason that a lot of students choose to attend Temple in the first place. When students make statements like the one above, I become so aggravated and annoyed. It shows how ignorant some students are. If someone were to take a walk from one side of Main Campus to the other, they would probably see a majority of white and black students. While those races are prominent, students should realize diversity isn’t only classified as white and black.

In 2008, the Princeton Review rated Temple’s undergraduate student body the most diverse in the nation. In the past year, Temple students gave the school an A- for diversity. Additionally, Temple’s ethnic heritage and international students were rated as “extremely diverse.” Of the ethnic organizations at Temple, there is an Italian Club, Arab Student Society and Polish Organization. Since my first semester at Temple, there wasn’t one class in which I didn’t sit among at least four to five students who were of different heritages. I took advantage of that environment and took the opportunity to gain insight about our cultural differences. I learned about Muslim traditions, different trends in Egypt, how crazy New Years can be in Spain and popular foods in Israel.

This is my challenge for you all: Take some time out of your schedule to walk around Main Campus. Observe. Look out for different kinds of students sitting on Polett Walk, eating in the cafe, or going from one class to the next. You will see students with different skin colors, hairstyles and clothing choices. I go from class to class not in a daze, but with my eyes wide open. I feel so privileged to attend such a diverse school, and you should too. For those of you who are like me, and appreciate Temple’s beautiful diversity, I applaud. But for those of you, who aren’t, take my challenge to heart. Really see what makes Temple so special. As a student body we need to realize and acknowledge our diversity.

The dictionary.com definition of diversity is, “The state or quality of being different or varied.” That’s exactly what our school is–different and varied. There are so many clubs, organizations, and frats on Main Campus that are represented by students of different cultures. We have a basketball player from Argentina, soccer players from Finland and Barbados and tennis players from Russia, Poland and China. Realizing that our school is so diverse will open you up to new perspectives about our school.

I want to expose the student body to more of the lesser-known cultures and ethnicities on Main Campus. I am honored to go to such a diverse school and I love noticing all the beautiful faces and skin colors and styles that I see from day to day, and if you all could see that beauty too, then not only would the student body grow to be more open-minded, but we would be more accepting to learn about cultural mores and ethnicities that differ from our own.

Rebecca Zoll can be reached at rebecca.zoll@temple.edu.

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