H O W A R D   U N I V E R S I T Y

Faces & Voices 5
An Anthology
of Verse and Prose

the Composition
for Honours Class,
Howard University,

E. R. B

Faces & Voices 4


Societal Reflection
By Tracy Hunter
      We constantly hear people commenting in some form about diversity. In whatever context they choose to use it, I often wonder if people really understand what diversity is, or shall I say what constitutes diversity. 
      As I began to consider what higher learning institution I would attend, I was constantly told that I shouldn’t choose a “Black” school because it wouldn’t accurately mirror the whims of society. In other words, a “Black” school was supposed to distort my image of the true architecture of “the real world.” There were several people who claimed that whether I liked it or not, there were indeed “White” folk in this world and at some point I would have to learn how to interact with them. By going to a “Black” school, I would be sheltered from the true diversity of this nation.
      I must say that I gave serious thought to this apparently well-constructed point of view. Although the color of one’s skin has never been a basis for any decision that I’ve made, I worried that going to a “Black” school would indeed give false claim to the diversity of our society.
      Now that I have close to one year of experience at Howard University, I feel compelled to give response to those who felt that I would be damaged by my decision. I have been in several situations with alternating degrees of “diversity.” I’ve been in situations where I was the only black person or where there was someone else who was the only white, or non black. More frequently were situations where there were fair mixtures of people from various cultural backgrounds. 
      With all of these experiences under my belt, I can easily say that I have never been in an atmosphere of greater diversity than here at Howard University. See, what people often fail to understand is that diversity goes far beyond black and white. There is diversity in attitudes, backgrounds, cultures, and the list goes on. 
      I truly believe that the idea that diversity is only a matter of surface reflection is something that severely blemishes the relationships between American people. So often we look at people from the outside and immediately make decisions as to how we choose to interact with them. True diversity lies beneath the skin and once we begin to tap into these areas; we will see that our differences aren’t actually that great and that our concepts of diversity don’t really matter at all.

© 2001 Tracy Hunter

© 2001 Howard University.
(First Published in limited print edition, An Anthology of Verse and Prose, by the Composition for Honours Class, Howard University, Spring 2001. Professor E.R. Braithwaite)
HOWARD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES, 500 Howard Place, NW, Washington, DC 20059.  Phone (202) 806-7234.