Racism exists in subtleties

According to the statistics provided in the '07-'08 edition of the Geneseo Update, there have been only twelve occurrences within the past three years which have qualified as "hate crimes or incidences." Furthermore, it is only specified that two of these incidents concerned race. Under the prevalent definition that has thus far been applied, these statistics are solid proof that Geneseo doesn't have a problem with racism. By following this definition and instead claiming that Geneseo has a problem with diversity, we gloss over the fundamental problems with racism that, in turn, promote the problems with diversity.

Essentially, racism is being treated as a concept of monumental proportions: it is a giant that lives in the hills which can be seen from miles away and which immediately halts everything else around it. By demarcating racism and racist thought as something extreme, we pretend they are not issues. We have been cultured to believe that racism is not at work until an individual has carved a swastika onto a window, a B-List comic calls a black audience member "nigger," or a radio broadcaster refers to a predominantly black women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hoes." In only recognizing the extremes, we effectively ignore the fact that racism lives very healthily on the subtle and mundane. Surely, no news outlet is going to run a story about the only black student in an African-American Literature class being expected to speak on the all-encompassing black experience. While we overlook subtleties such as this, an individual of an underrepresented group is told that they should grin and bear it, while the majority seduces themselves with the ideas of his or her "other-ness."

As an academic institution, our problems with diversity have been massively misrepresented; nowhere in the "call to action" were issues of religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, class or political affiliation raised. Furthermore, the problems with ethnic diversity were acknowledged only with the understanding that the proverbial "glass was 30 percent full." Therefore, it is not exactly surprising that we are unable to admit that we have a more underlying problem with racism. Our issues with ethnic diversity are built upon a foundation of racism, just as our issues with sexual orientation are built upon a foundation of heterosex