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Focus on diversity, not stereotypes

Observer Viewpoint | Thursday, January 29, 2004

It is amazing how living “down the street” from a subsidized housing project in Annapolis automatically qualified Patrick Duncan as an expert on black culture. In a Jan. 28 editorial, Duncan made an allegation that was as credible as Bill Clinton’s claim, “I did not have relations with that woman.” According to Duncan, blacks spend all their money on “cell phones, cars with bizarre and costly modifications, very expensive footwear, and cigarettes,” among other superficial things. Moreover, he stated that one of many reasons blacks perform so poorly on standardized tests is because of their “total immersion in a crude pop culture. Pumping 50 Cent into your ears all day will keep you from ever learning at all.” If that was the case, then Justin Timberlake’s lyrics must be laced with subliminal messages containing many answers to difficult analogies and algebraic computations.

His article was one of many targeting affirmative action. Discrepancies about affirmative action arise because students do not have a clear understanding of the law’s policies. Affirmative action does not rob others from opportunities; it simply gives preference to minorities who possess the same merit and qualifications as the majority. To make a mockery of affirmative action by comparing it to the demographics of the NBA is absurd. In a Jan. 26 editoral, Greg Parnell stated, “Blacks compose only 12 percent of the population, but 75 percent of NBA players are black. Is it sensible then to place a quota on the number of blacks who can play in the NBA, so that the races are more evenly distributed?” This suggestion is as ludicrous as the idea of setting a quota on the number of African American players in the National Hockey League or adding another layer of cream to an Oreo cookie to make the percentages of black and white parts equal.

Instead of engaging in frivolous debates, students should push to erase campus-wide narrow-mindedness by incorporating a real introduction to other cultures. The focus of a liberal arts education is to create truly well-rounded individuals. In addition to two semesters of theology and philosophy, perhaps two semesters should be devoted to the study of diversity.

Two years ago, when I first considered attending this institution, I did not own a cell phone, I did not drive a car with bizarre and costly modifications and 50 Cent was nothing more than the price I payed for a copy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Nowhere but Notre Dame, amongst some of the nation’s brightest, most athletically and academically talented students, will you find such blatant ignorance.

Maryann Erigha


Pasquerilla West Hall

Jan. 29