Monroe, Michigan is a place which could be considered lacking in diversity.
In fact, according to the most recent census, 94.8 percent of the county is Caucasian and MCCC likely boasts a similar statistic.
In an effort to make sure that the college is “enriching lives,” for both college students and the county as a whole, the college’s president, Kojo A. Quartey, aims to tackle and spread diversity across campus.
“What we want to do is to highlight all cultures,” Quartey said. “It’s not just ethnic diversity, it’s about diversity in all its forms.”
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April is known as “Celebrate Diversity Month”. In recognition of this month, Quartey is hosting a group exercise titled, “A Step Above.”
The exercise was performed on the main campus on April 13 and will be repeated on April 26 at the Whitman Center.
The purpose of the exercise is to help participants understand privilege. It consists of a series of questions, followed by movement based instructions like, “If you are a white male, take a step forward,” or “If you come from a family where both parents had college degrees, take a step forward.”
“It’s interesting to see who ends up in the front, who ends up in the middle, and who ends up way in the back,” Quartey said.
“You are going to find that individuals who have lower socioeconomic status, are of a minority race, or come from disadvantaged families are going to be the ones that end up in the back.
“And the fact of the matter is those who end up all the way in the front and those that end up all the way in the back don’t think the same.”
“People gravitate in the direction of individuals that are like them,” he said.
Quartey explained the dangers of lacking diversity and the importance of it in the real world.
“I don’t think the people of this county really understand the concept of diversity, and the question is: do they really care?” he said.
“We have to take diversity seriously because that is where the world is going.”
He explained that millennials are going to have to work all over the world with people of all races, cultures, sexualities and genders. Someone who can work with a diverse group of people is far more likely to succeed.
“We here at the college are spearheading the diversity efforts for the entire county, and I always say: If not us, then who?” he said.
“We are the center of higher education in this county, so if anybody wants to gain more knowledge, and to lift those veils of ignorance from their eyes, then this is the place to come.”