Poets filled the room as the Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI) held its Spilling the Tea on Diversity discussion on Tuesday, Feb. 20. The OEI has held this series of discussions since the beginning of this year, focusing on topics that most people find difficult to talk about. This event was called “Biracial and Multiracial Identity” and discussed what it means to be “enough” of certain races and what society views are about being multicultural.
The Pew Research Center conducted a study in 2015 focusing on people who were multiracial. According to the study, more than 60 percent of people are proud to be multiracial and 59 percent feel that they are more open to other cultures.
The discussion was hosted by first-year Sara Ghassemzadeh alongside other members of the OEI. They began by showing a video called Multiracial American Voices Identity, in which people discuss how much easier it is to identify with one race instead of multiple. After watching the video, students opened up about what it meant to be a certain race or how they felt about having to represent their race or races.
Another important topic that the group discussed was what it meant if they were not “enough” of a race or that they were not “[blank] enough.” When you are multicultural, it is often seen as needing to have pride in order to represent one culture more than the other. This was the major theme of the discussion as the group asked: What does it mean to be enough of a specific race?
The students and faculty also shared some of their experiences, either learning to surpress where they came from or feeling uncomfortable for being asked about or accused of being a certain race. “I heard some great responses to a topic that I feel is not heavily discussed on our campus,” said Assistant Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion Kayla Kosaki. “I think the folks who shared their experiences and the lessons that we learned were pretty great.”
“The turnout was good and it was a lot more than I expected,” said Ghassemzadeh. “I was very happy that people were willing to share their experiences because I have had my own experience with this, and it is nice to know that other people on campus understand and listen to others.”
Our college campus is full of diversity, and members of our community are proud of their diverse ethnic roots. The OEI is trying to not only make the campus aware of these issues, but to be able to create a safe space for the community, as well. Although we are living in a time where prejudice is still existent, it is time to stop shaming people for who they are and where they came from. The OEI will be holding more of these discussions for the rest of the Spring semester, so stay tuned for more important discussions that will be Spilling the Tea on Diversity.