Cultural Diversity, Will We Ever Get Our Act Together

Helen Galvin
El Vaquero Staff Writer

J C. Moore started a talk about cultural diversity Thursday in Kreider Hall by announcing that the last time she lectured on the subject she was chided for not being politically correct. That, she said, was the entire point of her lecture both then and now – to make the listener think.

Moore, the Coordinator of Cultural Diversity and Chair of Sociology Department, told a diverse group filling two thirds of the seats in the hall of the dangers of prejudice and pre-judging people. She cited war as the age-old reason prejudice continues to grow.

“The winner of a war is considered to be `better’ than the loser,” Moore said. Using the British Empire as her main example, she illustrated how easy it was for Europeans remain a “superior” ethnic group for so many years.

Moore reminded the audience that everyone has some form of prejudice. It can be for a certain food, a preference for a type of book or music. As innocent as it may seem, this is often the seed that begins prejudice.

“People focus on the assumption of the difference in a person,” Moore said. No one is born prejudiced, but environment, culture, work situation and even religious beliefs can be the breeding ground for this infection.

Since prejudice is not limited to just racial or ethnic groups, gender, age and sexual orientation were also included in her talk. She said that a sexually promiscuous woman is considered a whore, while a sexually promiscuous man often has no stigma attached to him.

Since “groups” stay together, within each group one can find a form of prejudice. This prejudice can reduce a level of uncertainty for minorities. It also opens the door for another problem. Personal failure is often blamed on prejudice instead of the person taking ownership of this failure.

As homosexuality became more “out in the open,” entire communities grew so that they could have a safe haven from people who did not approve of their life style and could possibly cause them harm. Prejudice always hinders interaction. It keeps a social distance between people because prejudice is nothing but confusion. “Social programs are needed to alleviate this problem,” Moore said.

Since Sept. 11, communities and groups have sat together to dialogue about their difference with the goal being to start a flow of understanding.

An ethnic food fair for cultural diversity is being held on Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the student center.
“We can start a new chapter against prejudice, because, after all, we are all Americans,” Moore concluded.