It’s Time We Rise Up

Emily McGinty

In the wake of the Trayvon Martin case it is obvious that race is still an issue in the minds of many.

I grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and have been surrounded by many different races, cultures and ethnicities. However, I never looked at my classmates and said there are 15 black students, 8 Hispanic, 4 Chinese and 10 white.

I just thought “whoa” this is a huge class. I grew up not looking at race because I was taught from a young age that we are all people no matter our gender, orientation or race. I can appreciate that some individuals did not grow up in such diverse cities and that coming to UNH, a school that boasts about their diversity, is a culture shock. However, after attending the school for a month or so, most people stop noticing if there were a large number of any specific groups of people in their class.

I have grown to believe that when you point something out it becomes noticeable. For example the term “like,” if someone points out that Sally says “like” every few words you begin to notice it. The same goes for differences, if a friend says look how many women are working in Sears, you begin to notice it more. So when I logged into Banner recently and was asked to “update” my ethnicity/race I was completely taken aback. My first issue was the term update, what does that even mean? People update their Facebook status not their ethnicity. So the conclusion I came to is that the school is trying to verify the ethnicity/race of students. But why?

Now the term ethnicity is defined as being the fact or state of belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition. The choices on Banner were Hispanic or Latino and Not Hispanic or Latino. Really? That doesn’t even make sense, I belong to a social group that has common national traditions and it’s called American, how come that’s not an option?

The term race refers to the physical appearance of an individual. I may be white, but that says nothing about who I am, so why is it a necessary question? I know that this is the traditional way of asking these questions but in this day and age there is not point to them anymore.

Now I am not a sociologist, an anthropologist or even a psychologist, but I think that an American goal is to give people equal rights. So if this is the goal, why are we stereotyping and keeping track of information that tells us nothing about the actual person?

Personally I think that a person’s character and intelligence is more important than what they look like or what group they associate with. So I am standing up to simply say, “I’m not going to tell you what I look like or where I pledge my allegiance because this is a school where I come to learn and neither of those impact the way I learn.

If you don’t believe me I encourage you to go read Brown v. Board of Education; everyone gets the same education no matter what they look like.