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
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
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)
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