Matt Abramson

Professor Dolby

Human Animal

10/17/08

Some have expressed concern over UMW’s lack of diversity among its students, faculty, and staff. What should UMW’s priorities be in increasing its diversity, and by which criteria should our concept of diversity be based?

Americans have been affected by race for decades and although many consider it to be a part of the past, it is never completely cured. Dating back a hundred years ago slavery was one of the most influential aspects in our nation’s history. In the days of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, fighting for equal rights for all Americans was because of race. Countless numbers of Americans, past and present, have been affected by race. Why then, is it considered by most people to be the defining aspect of diversity?

What is diversity? Most people would say that diversity is based on a person’s race. Mary Washington would not be considered to be very diverse in these peoples’ minds, seeing as how eighty-eight percent of students in attendance are Caucasian. Due to this lack of “diversity” based on race, Mary Washington was given the name the “University of Mostly White” as a result. This lack of diversity has not gone unnoticed in the public eye because in the 2003 Princeton Review, Mary Washington was labeled as the “most homogenous [school] in the nation.”

It is important that people stop incorporating race as the only piece of the puzzle when it comes to diversity. Many other factors can be looked at and determined to be a part of diversity. How a person dresses, their musical preference, sexual orientation, gender, background, location, culture, and their heritage are all others to be considered.

Recent studies have shown that scientists have been trying to label different people’s races based on their DNA and the scientists’ efforts are unsuccessful. In these tests, scientists would take a sample of a person’s DNA and then place that sample into a computer that is used for determining someone’s race. What the test turned out to be was a guessing game. The computer, despite getting the right answer some of the time, was still not right enough times to be convincing. This is important to the University of Mary Washington because this experiment proves scientifically that diversity should not be limited to race alone.

Diversity is a part of life everywhere and is not just limited to Mary Washington or other educational institutions. It is important for UMW students to realize that despite Mary Washington not being racially diverse, it is diverse in many other aspects. In the business world diversity is a major factor as race and gender put many companies under a watchful eye. It is necessary that men and women are treated, blacks and whites treated equal, and any other combination of diversity. In the past, businesses would hold men to a higher regard and thus, men would make more money, get better jobs, and rise faster in the company. People could make the case that women still are not presented with the same caliber jobs as men, such as becoming the president of a company, however for the most part men and women are now treated equal in the workplace. More and more women are now becoming CEO’s and taking charge in the workplace, a feat that would have been unheard of fifty years ago when women were limited to secretarial positions only. Race is another big aspect of diversity in the workplace. Not too long ago it was not uncommon to see a dominance of Caucasian’s in the workplace. African-Americans, Asian-Americans, as well as other types of races were not presented with high salary jobs and were not given opportunities to succeed in the workplace. Today however, businesses have become much more diverse, overlooking race, gender, and other aspects that had limited people in the past.

UMW’s priorities should not be limited to increasing the percent of racially different students, faculty, and staff. The goal is not to meet a certain percent or quota, the goal is to become more diverse which entails every aspect of the word. Culture, heritage, gender, sexual orientation, as well as countless others are all factors that are necessary to consider in order to make Mary Washington more diverse.

One Response to “Human Evolution”

  1. econklin says:

    I like that you mentioned specifically some other things that make people unique other than race: “How a person dresses, their musical preference, sexual orientation, gender, background, location, culture, and their heritage [may all be considered]”. So to increase diversity, what should the admissions panel at UMW look for in prospective students? There were a few grammatical mistakes and some sentences that sounded a little awkward, but overall you had a very good message in your essay. Good job!