Column: MU’s diversity obsession is needed

The problem this campus faces is not diversity in numbers, but in viewpoints.

“Why is Mizzou so obsessed with diversity?”

I heard a student say this while in the MU Student Center minding my own business and trying to be productive. OK, I was probably eavesdropping and not minding my own business, but still I heard the question while in the Student Center last week.

Mizzou is so obsessed with diversity because we know that there is a lack of diversity present at this university. Diversity, by definition, means the state of being diverse, having many things or a range of many different things. At first sight, it may look like we have many different people on campus, but when you look at the numbers, you will see what group of people dominates.

There is nothing wrong with our demographics at MU. There is something wrong, however, with people not taking the time to understand why a huge institution like this one would be concerned with diversifying the population and introducing the student body to different kinds of people.

It is 2015 and Missouri, much like every other state in our country, is full of people who are trying to get a higher education despite their race, background and ethnicity. We have people from all around the world coming here to study and get an education that will be useful to them in whatever field they decide to go into.

When individuals are suspicious of why this school and its administrators are always putting on events to strengthen cultural connections and understandings, it’s probably a problem that they have because they have not taken time to make those connections.

Diversity and awareness are both worth the obsession. At this point in history, we should all be trying to break down barriers that have held us back for so long. Imagine where we would be as a society — not just in America, but globally — if at no point in history people were slain and shunned for their skin color and/or beliefs.

We should be glad that our school is one that respects and honors many cultures and experiences. The events and forums that never seem to end on our StuffToDo page are there for a reason. Not acknowledging the problems that face our generation is not going to help us solve them.

Racism still exists. Oppression still exists. Sexism still exists. Luckily, we have great people working to educate the student populace about these issues so that we can, if at all possible, put a stop to them.

It’s important to point out the troubles that face many people on this campus, and I think our organizations and leaders are doing a pretty good job at it. I can’t even count the number of events I’ve seen advertised that had to do with repression or other evils that still haunt us today. All students should be using these events and discussions to their advantage to educate themselves on what life is like for other students.

Mizzou has no choice but to be obsessed with diversity, because, if it were to be ignored, there’s no telling what the energy would be like on campus. The events that deal with issues from racial oppression to sexual harassment are ways for students to let off steam as well as open their eyes and minds to what is going on around them today.

If you have a problem with our campus being concerned with the well-being of people who are not like you, no matter who you are or what you are, that is a problem you need to fix within yourself. Not everyone is going to be alike and no one deals with the same thing. We should all be open to hearing about how we can make everyone comfortable and at ease with themselves.

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