America has a bigotry problem.
Yes, I realize the phrase “bigotry problem” borders on redundancy, but that’s also a bit too simple. What does prejudice look like? How does it impact people? More importantly, what can we do about it?
I hope you’re not reading this blog for The Answer to World Peace because I have no idea. Racism, homophobia, and intolerance’s other numerous forms are all complex, layered issues, and I certainly haven’t learned everything.
Which brings me to the Diversity Learning Series at USG. This is a series of workshops that will be held by the Center for Student Engagement and Financial Resources (CSEF). On the first Monday of the month, every month through December, a bunch of students from various backgrounds will meet to discuss hot-topic issues, practice self-awareness, and learn cultural competence. This past Monday was the first session, where we voted on what we wanted to talk about going forward. The consensus, though, was that no matter what two main topics we chose, other aspects of diversity would probably come up. After all, people contain multitudes!
Just based on a first impression, I’m really glad I signed up for this. See, I know I can’t fix everything that is going on in the world today. What I can do, however, is get educated! Anyone can! It’s a very interesting experience, having your personal biases pushed in front of your face. (Of course, “interesting” does not necessarily mean “comfortable,” but I expected that going in.) There’s also something empowering about being in an environment like this. Self-improvement, as the name implies, is entirely an individual act. Someone else might have, say, written a relevant book, but nobody can make anybody else read that book. The CSEF set up the workshop series in the first place, but I sent in my application. I chose to sign up. That’s a great feeling! I chose to do the small thing so I could learn more and maybe do a big thing someday, and you can too! I believe in you!
Oh, and there’s a certificate. Those are fun.
Unfortunately, the application deadline for this semester has passed. That said, you can contact the CSEF if you’re curious about next semester. Also, if you want to get educated about diversity in other ways, there are plenty of great resources out there! You can ask USG Diversity Matters to point you in the right direction.
Photos via Unsplash.com