There is no excuse for not having more inclusive texts and courses here at Saint Mary’s
By: Riley Mulcahy
Opinion Section Editor
In the never-ending pursuit of obtaining fundamental human rights for BIPOC in the United States, one could feel that there is not much a university, let alone an individual, can do to combat the blatant scar on our humanity. However, SMC can help students of color by embracing texts and creating courses that actively help dismantle the white supremacy that is so prevalent in this country. In creating a more diverse and inclusive campus, SMC appeals to students who value diversity and want to become more involved in campus life. Also, one must not forget the impact of protesting after George Floyd was murdered and how the Black Lives Matter Movement has walked the walk by supporting BIPOC individuals and creating a more diverse campus.
How is this possible when everyone has different majors and different post-college ambitions? By creating a more productive Seminar environment in which texts from Black authors are acknowledged and celebrated, and having similarly styled classes to ENGL-130, The Novels of Toni Morrison. While it is impressive that the university is creating a space for Morrison’s work, we must fight for more diverse authors being offered.
The college can do this by adding more diverse offerings for The Common Good and Community Engagement requirements. The notion that Ethnic Studies and Women and Gender Studies Departments should be solely responsible for creating more varied course offerings is not feasible. We must aim for every department to celebrate the achievements of writers, researchers, and scholars of each department, which will help students become more aware of the world of academic life. Not every person who writes a novel or textbook is a white straight male.
Although there is always progress to be made, this is not to say that there are no strides happening here at Saint Mary’s. Talking About White People About Race/White People Talking About Race, a Jan Term class taught by Scott Schonfeldt-Aultman, looked at the notion of whiteness in the context of the privilege it represents and how white students can help students of color have a better experience. As a student in the class myself, my biggest takeaway was to continually educate yourself before trying to have a person of color explain the history of trauma in this country, present due to the white supremacy that our country is rooted in. If colleges only select white authors and a handful of BIPOC authors, then we are still not even reaching the magnitude of representation, and it must be explicit.
Classes revolving around the issues of diversity and representation must be at the forefront of SMC’s curriculum, and it takes professors such as Schonfeldt-Aultman to create engaging courses that also speak to the current climate we are living in. However, we must also expect a college located in the Bay Area to have diverse texts so we will not repeat the same mistakes that generations before us have. Over the last five years, we have witnessed the fragility of democracy and the reason why we must educate, educate and educate students again on the history of this country, one that represents the Black excellence in this country, and dismantle the white supremacy that has been here longer than our country’s formation.
Melanie Moyer '22,