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A Notre Dame experience?

Letter to the editor | Tuesday, December 5, 2006

As we were getting ready for our big show in the green room, one of my fellow performers in Asian Allure said, “Shows like Keenan Revue are considered a part of the ‘Notre Dame experience’ but shows put on by multicultural groups such as Asian Allure, Black Images and Latin Expression are never considered a ‘must-do Notre Dame experience’.” Why is that?

Why is it that making jokes about St. Mary’s College students and Zahm Hall is part of the so- called “Notre Dame experience” but shows put on by minority groups on this campus are not? Is it merely because Keenan Revue has been running longer than these other shows? If so, Asian Allure celebrated its tenth anniversary this year – is a decade not long enough to be seeped into the Notre Dame tradition?

Some say that many other shows on this campus such as the annual Welsh Family Dance Show and PEMCO musical also are not considered as “Notre Dame experiences” because there are just too many activities on campus for every such event to be considered. Although this is true, if many make it a point to go to LaFortune at midnight of Monday before finals to see Zahm’s annual “bun run,” then should we not make it more of a point to support the various multicultural events on campus?

Many often describe Notre Dame students as being “too nice.” Perhaps we are so cautious that we might disturb still water that we gently tiptoe around or even avoid difficult questions. However, still water contained will eventually rot. We must disturb still water by asking difficult questions and engaging in active discussion to allow ideas to flow.

An hour in a freshman year Contemporary Topics class is not enough to raise awareness and provoke active discussion. It has to be up to the students. We must make active discussion a part of the Notre Dame experience, whether it be at lunch at the dinning halls or a formal discussion in the classrooms. We must disturb still water and confront our own stereotypes, prejudices and ignorance of other cultures, ethnic groups and race. Most importantly, we must create an environment that is in agreement with our University’s mission: to include all those who are not like ourselves, to allow every student to feel that they are part of the Notre Dame experience.

Clara Park


Pasquerilla East

Nov. 29