The Scarlet

The Scarlet Letter [9/15/13]

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by Jeremy Levine

Let’s talk about those flags for a quick sec.

You know the flags I’m talking about. The ones that, for reasons unbeknownst to me, pop up in Red Square on every Family Weekend and Accepted Students Day. These flags, which represent a seemingly random smorgasbord of countries, are not permanent fixtures to campus, but are instead erected whenever we apparently have people to impress.

I find this whole flag business kind of disturbing because it seems that (the flags) try to accomplish something along the lines of showing people how multicultural our campus is.

The thing is, sticking some flags in front of Freud doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t make us “culturally diverse.” We could have just gone to the flag store and bought some flags, a shopping venture that is entirely unrelated to the number of international students that attend Clark or the impact that these students have on our community.

I’m just sort of weirded out by the idea that we can say “LOOK! DIVERSITY!” and think that that’s okay. Because if we really want our campus to be enriched with various global perspectives, then that means engaging students from all over the world in our classes and in our clubs, and not treating them like token international perspectives, but as threads that are vital for Clark’s fabric to hold together. Reducing their impact to a single gesture (that gesture being representative clubs, some random flags, or even something massive like Gala) is belittling. (For the record, these clubs and events are important, but they are simply small parts of this whole big “diversity” thing.) Diversity isn’t about pointing to something and saying “yes, we have diversity.” It’s about living in a community where you don’t notice it because it’s so normal. And every time I see those flags (that aren’t normally there), I think about how silly it is that we think we have to try so hard.


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The Scarlet Letter [9/15/13]