Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Stop With the Discourse

Congratulations Georgetown, we have a discussion.

After much discussion about discussion, I think it’s safe to say we are discussing something. I would like to thank D. Pierce Nixon, and the many other people who wrote letters to the editor or viewpoints about THE HOYA’s lack of coverage regarding the Jena Six, Nixon’s column about the Jena Six, or just generally about the Jena Six.

A majority of people who wrote on the topic, including our GUSA president and a few former editors of THE HOYA, called for a campus discussion about race. Personally, I’m glad that we’re having this discussion sooner rather than later, because the sooner the discussion, the sooner we realize that the discussion is going nowhere.

I fail to see how discussing the racial divide within Georgetown is going to end it. Many have talked about being a marginalized member of this community because of their skin color, but no one has said what pointing it out is going to do to fix that.

Not only will discussion not help fix the problem, from what I’ve seen it’s part of the problem. The racial divide here isn’t huge, but it is noticeable as soon as you step on campus. On my third night back on the Hilltop this year, I walked through Healy Circle, carefully navigating my way through hundreds of freshmen, and couldn’t help but notice a large group of at least 30 black students who had separated themselves from the other freshmen who filled the circle.

Before I go on, let me say that I do not in any way mean to suggest that this phenomenon I noticed only applies to certain minorities. This one instance is just an example of something that doesn’t happen that often, but more than it should at Georgetown. Every race and ethnicity is as guilty as the next. At Leo’s it’s easy to spot groups of white students and groups of black students, but you don’t have to look to far to find Asian and Latino tables either.

Also, I am not trying to say it affects even a majority of any specific race or ethnicity ” but it does happen.

No one can convince me that in the first week many minority students were excluded by white students or other minorities. We may not be the most welcoming campus in the nation, but we certainly aren’t that exclusive. There must be some other cause; some reason we all migrate to people who look like us.

The problem could be caused by many things, but one contributor certainly could be the required Pluralism in Action program for all freshmen.

Pluralism in Action can be summed up very briefly as a discussion about racial and cultural problems, and how Georgetown should deal with them. So one possible reason these black freshmen, and all freshmen, decided to befriend people who look like them is because they had just been told on their third day that we have a race problem here. I’m sure the organizers of Pluralism in Action would argue that the message was not we have a problem, but it’s implied because nobody has a formal discussion to say that everything is well and good. The message that the university is sending is very strong. With all the activities jam packed into New Student Orientation, a two to three hour discussion on diversity surely sticks out to a new freshman who hasn’t even been here three full days.

The most likely reason for our racial tension is simply that people feel more comfortable with their own race because we make such a big deal about race, not only at Georgetown, but also as a society. If that is the case, we need to stop. Let’s all pretend to be ‘colorblind’ and if we do it long enough, hopefully we will be.

I can’t wait until we stop calling Barack Obama the black candidate. I can’t wait until we stop dividing the results of opinion surveys into what white people think versus what black people think. And I can’t wait until colleges and standardized tests stop asking about race or ethnicity on every form and application.

None of this will happen unless we stop making such a big deal about race.

I admit it, I’m a hypocrite. I just discussed race to tell you not to discuss race, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the type of discussion everyone has been calling for.

And if it does anything to end the discussion, being a hypocrite is worth it.

Tom Liguori is a sophomore in the McDonough School of Business.

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