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For Notre Dame’s history

Edithstein Cho | Sunday, January 29, 2012

“Wouldn’t you like to lead our Notre Dame community in our new movement, our new front, our new effort?”

Alexa Arastoo, president of Diversity Council, has thrown her support behind a new production called “Show Some Skin: the Race Monologues,” a show which resembles “Loyal Daughters & Sons” to explore the topic of multiculturalism, race and diversity in the Notre Dame community.

As said in the official statement of the group, the production aims “to provide a platform for sharing experiences on ethnicity and race to enhance our ongoing conversation on diversity in the Notre Dame students, faculty and staff.”

The Diversity Council is the conglomeration of 24 undergraduate clubs of Multicultural Student Programs and Services that is directly under Student Affairs. The Diversity Council has been sponsoring “Show Some Skin” since December.

Arastoo stressed the necessity of having a production like “Show Some Skin.”

“The Diversity Council recognizes that students have stories held inside of them,” she said. “There was no question about sponsoring ‘Show Some Skin: The Race Monologues.’ Students want to be heard. Art is a safe way to do it.”

Arastoo described the uniqueness of the “Show Some Skin” production.

“The raw emotion you get from the theatrical performance will not be something you can get from an in-class, intellectual discussion or a Viewpoint article,” Arastoo said.

Drawing on her experiences, Arastoo shared her personal take on how students need this production.

“When you talk with your friends at dinner, you hear a huge range of hilarious to infuriating things. Especially for students of color, these happenings are all we talk about,” she said. “Some of these stories become almost like urban legends or a kind of folklore at Notre Dame. Without writing them down, critical narratives will be lost.”

Beyond the power of narratives, Alexa expressed her concern over the insufficient interest from the student body on multicultural events and the lack of depth in students’ approaches to multiculturalism.

“When cultural clubs host events, students who are not involved with Multicultural Student Programs and Services think that ‘It’s not for me,'” she said.

The multicultural groups putting on the shows do not need the posters themselves. They are already on the email list-serve; most of them are backstage putting on the show. The show is also for everyone else. At the same time, attending cultural events is not enough. We all have to be open to looking deeper into what people have to honestly say about race.”

26 percent of Notre Dame students identify themselves as student of color or an underrepresented minority race. The corresponding percentage is 74 percent.

“Opinions on race only from the people of color do not show the whole picture,” Arastoo said.

Students who don’t identify as being a racial minority not only have the right to submit their own ideas for the show, but also have the right to enjoy it. Nobody should block themselves off from a project like ‘Show Some Skin’ that can make a difference. Not only is it beneficial for everybody but we need them there. These are our stories.”

Arastoo emphasized the importance of students leading our way by submitting their anonymous stories to [email protected] by Feb. 10.

“The production can happen if and only if we take the five minutes to scratch out the honest stories from our hearts,” she said. “We can hope for a deeper look into the life of students around us. A bigger concern would be to question ourselves: Do we as students in Notre Dame make diversity a priority?”

We must talk about race. No one is blaming anyone. A lot of students have to want to make diversity a priority. It has to spread. We must talk because we are the people who can change things.”

For Notre Dame’s history, would you help build a better future?

Edith is a sociology and peace

studies major who is excited to listen to the secret, “not politically correct” perspectives on multiculturalism, race and diversity in “Show Some Skin.”

She can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not

necessarily those of The Observer.