By Jackie Carter, Staff Writer
The officials at UCLA want to require undergraduate students to take a class in racial, cultural, gender, or religious diversity. Opponents of the proposal cite students as overburdened with other requirements and question whether the classes would actually improve ethnic relations or are part of some political agenda.
At the same time, UC Berkley is celebrating the 25th year of their “American Culture” studies program. All ten of the UC campuses require some diversity courses in order to graduate.
While inclusion for all is a goal that many people say they support, does it actually improve relations among races, cultures, genders, or religions? A few racial incidents involving an off-campus party mocking Black History month in 2010 prompted UC San Diego to implement classes in “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” Yet a Campus Climate Report recently issued in March of this year, revealed that 23 percent of the students believed that they had been excluded, intimidated, or the subject of hostile and/or offensive conduct.
Proposition 209, The California Civil Rights Initiative, was originally created in 1996 to provide equal opportunity for all by prohibiting “discrimination against or granting preferential treatment to individuals or groups based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” Earlier this year, the California State Senate passed a measure to call for a partial appeal.
An article against diversity published in 2012 by the National Association of Scholars claims that diversity is no more than discrimination or racial profiling and does nothing to improve what students learn. Although it is intended to teach students about race and culture, it only succeeds in helping them understand diversity. The article further states that it reinforces stereotypes and that as undergraduates progress in higher education, the less interested they are on average in promoting racial understanding.
Becoming exposed to other races, cultures, etc. is inevitable in our ever changing and expanding world. While it looks good on paper, it lacks practical application. People typically gravitate towards things that they are comfortable with and that is not likely to change just because you take a cultural class.
Even within classrooms, students are not going out of their way to befriend someone who is different from them. Instead, they interact with those that are most like them in academics, interests, and race or gender. But who knows, maybe this time UCLA will have no choice but to allow diversity courses because the students are demanding it.