Importance of Diversity

            How to go about increasing diversity on College campuses is a major issue of debate.  I personally noticed the lack of diversity on UMW’s campus within the first few days and believed something should be done about it.  However, what that something should be is not always very clear.

            One popular attempt at increasing diversity is known as Affirmative Action.  Affirmative action is where a school or a business takes someone in the minority over someone who may technically be more qualified.  This action can easily be construed as implying that minorities have inferior intellects to whites and need extra help.  However, this is by no means the case, and represents a strong argument against affirmative action.  Recent studies have shown that the color of a person’s skin is not a good indicator of what genes they have.  In fact many biologists don’t even use the term race when applying to people because race implies we are different subspecies.  As supposed to the 25% difference needed to be a subspecies and the 100% difference needed to be a different species, “the groups of people considered to be of different races have allelic differences of at most 15 percent.”(Brownlee, C. 2005. Code of Many Colors: can researchers see race in the genome. Science News)   

            If that isn’t enough, it is also clear that geographic location and specific ancestry has a lot more to do with genetic similarity than skin color.  While in general people tend to be closest genetically to people of their race, given the nature of evolution/ isolation and modern travel (interbreeding), it is not always so easy to guess.  These things have all lead to a high level of variation in all groups and made it so “It’s not uncommon at all to find two blacks who could be very different from each other,” and that “In some cases, a black organ donor can better match a white recipient than a black one.” (Brownlee, C. 2005. Code of Many Colors: can researchers see race in the genome. Science News)  So the main question to ask is, if all people are so similar, and race is such a vague label, why is affirmative action used and why is diversity so important?           

            My personal opinion on the matter is that ideas such as affirmative action and diversity are important regardless of genetic similarity.  While genetics might downplay the significance of a person’s given race, it is also important to understand the significance of environment and general human psychology in everyday life.  After all, not very long ago black people weren’t allowed to attend the same schools or hold the same jobs as white people.  In the 50 years since desegregation, it is hard to believe that everything has been equalized.  While I’m focusing on the struggle of the African American population, similar hardships are present in just about every American minority.  Howard University’s Charles Rotimi put the nature of humans to discriminate best when he said, “People who have been advantaged by racism aren’t likely to give it up.” (Brownlee, C. 2005. Code of Many Colors: can researchers see race in the genome. Science News)   

              Going back to the idea that all humans are indeed human, it begs the question of what diversity actually is and how to gain it.  Aside from affirmative action, it is also important for the Mary Washington Admissions office to try and recruit minorities.  After all, it is very naïve to think that all or even the majority of minorities need help to get in.  Because race is so vague, UMW should focus on the cultural side of diversity and get people from many different backgrounds, not just focusing on skin color.  I believe this would greatly enhance the education and experience that UMW has to offer.   

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4 Responses to “”

  1. jhurst2 says:

    I liked how you tied in affirmative action to your paper, and how you compared it to today’s society. Your paper was well organized and I like how you put statistics in the beginning of the paper to back up your point.

  2. ecrowe says:

    I agree with your point about how genetically, races really are not that different. I agree with the information that there is more genetic variation between two individuals in one race than there is between two individuals of different races. I also agree that even though we aren’t all that different just because of our skin color, UMW should still look to increase diversity by incorporating lots of different people who come from different cultural backgrounds.

  3. fillefrancais18 says:

    I like your link to affirmative action as well as the idea that diversity should be based not only on skin color but also cultural backgorund.

  4. fillefrancais18 says:

    I like your link to affirmative action, as well as your view on how diversity should be based not only on skin color but also on cultural background.