Diversity isn’t just a skin thing

One of the main things college should do is teach students about new and different cultures. Being surrounded by new people from different backgrounds is one way to become more cultured and learn about new ideas and ideologies.

Del Mar College is offering an African-American history class for the first time in its history this spring. The class will document the struggles and history of African-Americans from early America in the 1500s through today.

Take this African-American history class — not because you have to, but because learning about cultures outside of your own is important.

Throughout your K-12 education, if you stayed in one city or town, you likely grew up with the same people who also have grown up in the same city. College offers a departure from that by bringing in people from various backgrounds for various reasons to one particular place.

However, being around different people can only do so much. Each person’s culture or identity often has an extensive background and history that they might not know about or might not go into. How many times has the person sitting next to you in your geology class told you about the African-American influence on pop culture in recent decades?

For a person who doesn’t have any black friends or grew up predominately around white people, this class could be eye-opening and give them a new understanding and open-mindedness that is important. After all, college is about learning new things, and learning about ways of life that aren’t your own is also important.

To continue this point, DMC should offer more diversity or specialty-based classes for students. Mexican-American studies is a thorough and solid degree plan that many are aware of at DMC.

However, more classes focusing on gender or women’s studies would definitely be relevant in today’s culture with the rise in feminism. The emphasized conversation on LGBT people and LGBT issues would be great for a class focusing on sexuality and the history of LGBT people in America. Classes on Asian or Middle Eastern people and their histories could shed light on issues that are commonly front page stories for national media outlets.

Arguably, these could teach people to have sympathy for those who are different from them. People in our society are always looking for someone or something to hate. Bigotry is becoming ever present in our daily lives, and while one class won’t fix it, it’s nonetheless a stepping stone.

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