Elikem Dodor | Correspondent
Diversity Education Week (DEW) is NC State’s annual week, usually during October, dedicated to highlighting the importance of diversity here on campus. According to the campus website, DEW “is a weeklong series of programs that reinforces NC State’s institutional commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity by highlighting the importance of our diversity and the role it plays in our daily lives, creating opportunities for campus members to become more aware of the impact of diversity at NC State and exploring more equitable and socially just practices and policies that improve success outcomes.”
The week is typically filled with events from various on-campus organizations and prominent keynote speakers. Several organizations such as the Goodnight Scholars Program and the Honors Village offer credit to their students for attending these events. In addition to DEW, there is typically Diversity Education Week Revisited (DEWr) during the spring semester.
With October coming to an end, DEW is nowhere in sight. There has not been a statement issued, an apology offered — nothing. Last week, several on-campus organizations such as the Society of Afrikan American Culture (SAAC), African Student Union (ASU), and Muslim Student Association (MSA), had their own “weeks.”
These organizations’ weeks were filled with various events about topics within their perspective communities. While these weeks were filled with joy and great discussion, support from the university would have been a major help. The majority of the people attending the events were already members of the clubs or said communities. With the universities help (hosting an actual Diversity Education Week) these events could have been extended to those who would not normally know about these events.
After the news caught wind of a physics professor being sexist and a white student airdropping pictures of monkeys to a Black student, you would expect there to be a larger emphasis placed on “diversity” here on campus. Claiming that your institution “values” inclusion and diversity is not enough; there needs to be action behind your claim.
The various diversity offices and spaces on campus are phenomenal but they are usually not being utilized by the people that need to be educated. While DEW is not nearly enough, it would have been an opportunity for some of these issues to be discussed.
As you attempt to become more educated in the matters of diversity and inclusion, here are some tips: please know that it is not the place nor the job of the marginalized people to educate the privileged. The marginalized person or community does not have to speak to you about everything or anything for that matter. If you have a friend who is willing to discuss certain topics with you, this does not immediately transfer over to every single person that just so happens to look like them.
While asking a marginalized person “how may I support you?” may seem like an effective thing to do, it’s usually counterintuitive. It is not the responsibility of the marginalized person to create a solution to an issue that they more than likely had no parts in even creating. Learn how to be proactive and do your own research. Google is still free.
Now I ask, what does diversity look like to you? Is diversity more than just something to be boasted about, more than just awards and recognition? Is diversity more than just being included in the INSIGHT Into Diversity’s November issue? Does diversity look like a campus with buildings named after white supremacists? Is inclusivity more than simply toleration? With these questions in mind, NC State needs to reevaluate their mission and claims of diversity and inclusion. So, DEW, where it at?