Is the Design for Our Cultural Programs Ethical?

Is the Design for Our Cultural Programs Ethical?

Journal of College and Character
Volume 11, Issue 4 (November 2010)
3 pages
DOI: 10.2202/1940-1639.1743

Larry D. Roper, Vice Provost for Student Affairs
Oregon State University

Kimberly McAloney
Oregon State University

The designs for cultural programs on most campuses seem to imply that students possess mono-cultural identities. However, with the increase in bi-racial and multi-racial students on campus, it is time for student affairs leaders to question the design for these programs.

With the election of Barack Obama, the first acknowledged biracial President of the United States, we have noticed an increase in conversation regarding race and the status of racial issues. While the election and the subsequent interest in race do not provide answers to the challenges facing colleges and universities, one of the recurring questions generated in the conversation about the racial identity of our President, “Is Barack Obama Black?,” does provide the opportunity to address a significant issue facing our campuses.

Questions regarding the racial identity of and the ethnic/racial community with which biracial and multiracial people should identify arise daily in the lives of a growing number of college students. On our campuses we have offices and cultural centers designed to serve and meet the needs of groups that have been historically underrepresented and underserved in U.S. higher education. While the creation of these centers and programs has been crucial in addressing the history of discrimination among collegiate institutions, as well as increasing opportunities for success of underrepresented racial groups, we are at a place where we need to enter uncomfortable territory and have serious conversation about the future of such centers and programs…

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