Lack of diversity at NU disappointing, frustrating for some

E. Miller Column

I was at my girlfriend’s house the first time I heard the intolerable inquiry. She is Colombian and her brother didn’t appreciate that his sister was dating a white male.

I was out on a date with a girl of Asian decent the next time I heard the whitey question. We were going to chill at her friend’s house. I wasn’t allowed past the front door.

The final occasion took place on South Street, a Philadelphia hot spot. It is tradition for males to drive down the crowded street and holler at girls, but one guy thought it’d be more appropriate to ask my friend, a mixed-race female, the question.

Late in Winter Quarter, I attended a fireside on intercultural and interracial dating sponsored by Northwestern’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Multicultural Advocacy Program. The conversation was enlightening and satisfying. The crowd consisted of students from many different ethnic backgrounds. For the first time since I’ve come to NU, I had a discussion about diversity that wasn’t between a bunch of white kids.

When I decided to come to NU, I thought there would be more opportunities like the aforementioned fireside. I thought people at a university would be more open to interracial and intercultural dating. I didn’t think the NU student body would rival the wintry weather in terms of whiteness.

What happened to all the multiculturalism advertised in the NU brochure? Several minority groups have organizations on campus; however, the groups don’t intermingle.

I can’t blame these groups for being isolationist. I would cling to people like myself if I were outnumbered – and often overlooked – as many of this university’s minority groups are.

I’m just frustrated by the difficulty of entering into the social circles of ethnic groups on campus. I’m too intimidated to be the lone white person walking into a Latino or black student meeting.

I refuse to believe that there isn’t a way to increase multiculturalism at NU. I come from a multiethnic neighborhood and multiethnic inner city high school, so I have seen first-hand the social and educational benefits of cultural diversity. As a member of my high school’s Multicultural Student Union, I gained amazing insight into the culture of others, while imparting my own cultural experiences. I don’t understand why an institution of higher learning fails to provide its students with edifying experiences like the ones I had in high school.

I just wonder if there are opportunities at this university to interact in a multicultural setting that I am overlooking, or if there are other students who feel the same way that I do.