With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, I’m sure we all feel the love in the air! But I’m not so sure that’s the case in the Wonderland of JMU. Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE my university, but I am highly disappointed with some of the things that are going on here lately.
Recently I came across this blog linked below, and I was originally ecstatic that someone had spoken up about the elephant in the room, literally…every classroom, every dorm hall, every common place on this campus, but as I continued to read and got to the comments portion, I became slightly outraged. The blog’s focus was on how one individual of African American descent was upset that after becoming a member of James Madison University’s Student Ambassadors she felt basically used and only accepted because she was “convenient” to give a “black perspective” of JMU on campus tours, etc.
LINK: Why I Quit Student Amabassadors
In the comments of this blog, there were people saying that she should have known what she was getting into, black people were too lazy to apply for the Student Ambassador position and therefore, unfairly represented, and other disgraceful things. I must say after reading this, I fell a little out of love with my beautiful JMU.
It doesn’t shock me to know that the majority of JMU’s population is Caucasian or white, I mean, it is a predominantly white institute. What does upset me is the push about “Diversity Here at JMU.” Anyone who goes to JMU knows that one of the key selling points and emphasis of the university is this false idea of diversity. Granted, diversity is not only race or ethnicity; I’d be quite ignorant not to acknowledge that. But, why sell diversity when so many of us are still looking to find where exactly that diversity is?! We claim that diversity also includes where you’re from, what you believe, cultural differences, etc. etc. etc. (are we just saying these things to take the focus off of color?…I digress), but honestly, that sort of diversity can be found ANYWHERE and you don’t hear about historically black colleges and universities pushing this diversity aspect.
Just last week I spoke to my sister about not really always liking to be the only black person in the room of 100, which usually leads to me being the “voice” of all black and/or minority people which is highly disheartening. I had a Communication Studies class where one guest speaker thought that it would be perfectly fine for her to teach a communication theory using a clip from Comedy Central’s show Key and Peele joking about slavery. Needless to say, the class thought this was HILARIOUS while I and the only other black girl in the class felt uncomfortable and, honestly, disrespected. There were so many other clips or examples she could have used. But do we run the risk of speaking up and again being that “voice” for all black people that we’ve already been marginalized to? Do we speak for all blacks and tell her that that was inappropriate just because we were the only ones offended by it? I should have. Looking back on it now, the hesitant reactions like mine are the reason that these things to continue to happen.
LINK: Key and Peele Slave Auction Block
Basically, what I am trying to say here is that there is not only a lack of diversity here, but when that “diverse group” is represented by a small amount of JMU’s population, many of us feel that we have to speak for the whole group. This is an issue! If we are going to sell diversity, then BRING IN MORE DIVERSITY! It is definitely not the fact of black and minority groups are “too lazy” to apply to be here at JMU or be a part of different groups, because that was made clear in the “Why I Quit Student Ambassadors” blog.
I’m so glad that this issue is finally being brought to light. Like I said, I absolutely love my school and everything that it has to offer. I am simply displeased with the amount of diversity, or lack thereof, on this campus. So maybe, in the art of PR, we shouldn’t place such an emphasis on diversity, but something along the lines of academics- something that we do well. Or maybe even the fact that our dining services are #2 in the country.
The food here is more diverse than the actual population. DO BETTER, JMU!
*Disclaimer: This blog is only my opinions and thoughts. They are not affiliated with and do not represent James Madison University.