By Ana Tanaka
For The North American Post
“HELLO, I’m Ana and I’m here to talk about the Diversity minor but I would like to firstly say how intriguing I find the name. Because what are we, as people of color, diverse from? People of… NOT color?
“While the minor’s name, to me, is humorous and a little ironic, it sheds light on the fact that people of color are considered ‘diverse’ and ‘different’ from the supposed ‘norm’ — with emphasis on the air quotes.
“Throughout my time here, getting to know the faculty, staff, students, and general community, I have actually learned that I am, in fact, NOT diverse.
“Which might not be exactly what you’d expect to hear from me during my little speech, but this label is simply a western conception. We are not a minority in numbers. We share stories and backgrounds and patterns in history that should bring us together.
“And when I say I am not diverse, I don’t mean that everyone is the same—I mean that I have found others like me who have experienced being ‘othered,’ who have had to seek out their history beyond their textbooks, and who have experienced generational trauma that fuels their fights today.
“That being said, I firmly believe that those who take the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion classes that the minor requires gain an unparalleled perspective on the world which is crucial in any field. After studying about marginalized communities and oppression, there is truly no other lens through which one can observe the world around them… for better or for worse.
“And while I know that I am my own person and that cultures are not a monolith, I have learned that diversity means community, in which case I am proud to graduate with a minor in Diversity. And I am proud of all of you who (whether you knew it or not while scrambling to register at the literal crack of dawn) have chosen to decolonize your perspective, I am proud of all of you who will continue to uplift marginalized voices in our country that systemically works to stifle them and I am proud of all of you sitting here in this room today who have passed any of Dr. Connie So’s classes.
“Please give a round of applause in congratulations to all the Diversity minors and AES majors we have here today!