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ISSUE 116 VOL 3 PUBLISHED 9/27/2002

Sister Speaks: A column addressing questions that concern race, culture, and identity

By Anonymous
Contributing Writer

Friday, September 27, 2002

Sister Speaks provides the source to participate in dialogue about issues often kept closed when on the contrary, these issues are very important to talk about. Now, you have the chance to ask burning questions that youve always inquired about, yet never had quite the right person to ask. Dear Sister, Every year as Ive thumbed through The Book and other calendars that include planned activities for the year, I cant help but notice the various celebrations that are held for the multicultural students on campus. Many times, I feel pressured to attend these events and I dont even understand why they exist in the first place. Why is it important to observe specific months or periods of time designated for minority groups such as Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month, etc.? Sincerely, Concerned Skeptic

Dear Concerned Skeptic, These celebrations are not only for multicultural students, but provide educational, social, and cultural sources for all students to participate and to gain knowledge. The celebrations represent misrepresented groups that are often left out of the academic milieu or are not included in many of the textbooks that supposedly document an accurate account of American or world history. There are many important contributions by Americans of color that are not observed, recorded, or regarded in mainstream society. This is a small period of time designated for those who dont receive proper recognition because of their skin color or heritage. It is also a time for misrepresented groups to give others an accurate perspective of their cultural history and heritage. Over and above, it is a celebration of culture and a place to build knowledge and understanding. Many times, represented groups or multicultural students are the only ones to attend these events on campus. It is time for other students to open their minds as well. It does not help to continue preaching to the choir. These celebrations are for everyone to expand their knowledge of other cultures and in doing so, expanding their knowledge of self. Hispanic heritage, Black history, Native American heritage, etc. is part of American culture and should be observed by all Americans as such.

Dear Sister, There is a specific place on campus that seems really popular, but designated to a chosen few. Every time I walk past there, I feel kind of uncomfortable and actually, left out because it doesnt even seem like I am welcome. What is the basis for having specific offices on campus that seem to be designated for multicultural students? Sincerely, Uninvited Guest

Dear Uninvited Guest, First and foremost, places like MACO (Multicultural Affairs and Community Outreach), SSS (Student Support Services), and PEP (Professional Exploration Programs) provide support for students who are less represented on campus on the basis of race, income, or those who are first generation college students. They also become places to share experiences with other students in similar situations. The faculty there offers advice on ways to grow and succeed in what is perceived many times as an unfamiliar place to these students. These offices offer sort of a comfort zone for students in these various categories, but other students who show interest are also showing their support for the students and are welcoming and helping them get adjusted. These offices promote and advocate for the pursuit of diverse admission and retention on campus. Educate yourself by visiting one of these offices and let them know if you could be of any help or support for fellow students in the community. Everyone is more than welcome!

Lauretta Dawolo is a junior majoring in English and A.R.M.S. with a concentration in Media Studies. She is the president of C.U.B.E. (Cultural Union for Black Expression) and has been involved in other groups like Presente and Harambe. She is also a Resident Assistant in Ytterboe and works for the Admissions office. To submit questions email Lauretta at , or call x6355 or the Manitou Messenger at x3275.

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