By Kidiocus Carroll
I arrived at Beloit College somewhat naïve when it came to issues of race. Growing up in Milwaukee in a mixed race family, I had a general knowledge about what it means to be black or a minority in a predominantly white world, but it wasn’t pervasive or all-consuming. Coming to Beloit College changed that.
I have never been so aware of my identity as a black man than during the past fourteen months that I’ve been at the college. I knew that the majority of the student population at Beloit would be white. And I was comfortable enough with that to see myself growing and becoming educated at a really great school.
The thing that makes me most aware of my status on campus is the general unwillingness for issues of race or privilege to be acknowledged by the student body or the administration. I am not going to paint everyone with a wide brush and say this is true across the board, or that people on this campus don’t think of these issues, but the atmosphere in regard to addressing these problems is lacking. It was one of the reasons that I joined Black Students United (BSU) and eventually became the president. I wanted to help foster change in the Beloit community, but it’s not something that can be achieved by one person, or by the social action groups on campus that are primarily comprised of black and brown people.
Positive change can’t be fostered when people have the idea that they aren’t welcome to participate in BSU events because they aren’t black. Positive change can’t be fostered on a campus where there is no avenue for addressing the issues of race and ethnicity, a ﬁeld of study that is becoming increasingly necessary in a society where it is assumed that we live in a post-racial world.
Part of the college’s mission statement speaks to personal responsibility and public contribution in a diverse society. How does one fulﬁll that mission statement when we see little encouragement of education in race and ethnic issues? What is the value of a liberal arts education without an understanding of others?