The other day I was thinking back to being a kid and how I identified each person I knew by which church they wen to. I was a PK (Preacher’s Kid) and found it perfectly acceptable for one of the first things to ask people I met to be which church they attended. Thankfully, growing up I realized this was not ok, but it is something that bothers me. I was raised thinking there were no other options and to assume that was a fact. Seeing as I am not religious today, I personally think my behavior was very insulting. More I am insulted by not having been offered other ideas until I was older and did my own research. I am insulted that it was thought I would not be able to think for myself if not offered different opinions.
This has become a much bigger deal to me as of late because of two things. The first is reading up on research that supports diversity in education being beneficial to growth, friendships, well-being, and becoming a democratic citizen (able to discuss different view points in society, something the “greatest” generation seem to be having a lot of difficulty with nowadays). Having the chance to face different views allows children to become their own person, which I always thought was the key concept of parenthood. If it is to raise someone who thinks, looks, and acts exactly like you without having to face the adversity of deciding for themselves, isn’t that cloning?
The second point was from a conversation with an advisee. She was telling a story where she and a friend were discussing being in sororities. When she told the friend which one she was in and that it was a part of a certain council, the friend looked at her and seriously asked her, “So that really exists? I always thought it was made up.” If that is the case, am I failing as an advisor to place these students in situations that challenge them and force them to see beyond the box? Are they actually having to grow and think for themselves or are they simply finding groups where no one will disagree and diversity means everyone is from a middle-to-upper class family with the same racial heritage and from cities within Texas?