As the newly minted freshman representative of the AHANA Pre-Law Society (APLSA), I find it hard to convince my white friends to attend events hosted by the organization, thanks to the AHANA label. AHANA, which is an acronym used to describe individuals of African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American descent, strives to create an a welcoming environment for minority students. I am not arguing against the merits of such an association in a school that is 70% white.
But what does disconcert me about student organizations that were originally meant to focus on ethnic minorities is the atmosphere of exclusion they can inevitably let off to white colleagues who are apprehensive of the possibility of being the only Caucasian at meetings. Convincing and eventually coercing my ginger-haired and blonde floor mates to attend the “FACES: To Twerk or Not to Twerk” event a couple of weeks ago took quite an effort and prodding. But in the end, we had an intellectually stimulating and enjoyable time, because these clubs are an enjoyable experience for people of all walks of life, not just one.
Race is important, and I do not deny the essential requisite to ensure AHANA students feel at home at BC. However, at times, we should step away from our racial, socioeconomic backgrounds and immerse ourselves in our common interests, passions, pursuits, and beliefs. E Pluribus Unum: out of many, one. The beauty and attractive feature of Boston College is the potential for the exchange of cultures and discourse over the course of four years, not to insulate ourselves further in homogenous bubbles that we feel the most comfortable in.
As my name suggests, I am not black; however, I’m looking forward to joining the Black Student Forum. Likewise, one of my best friends down the hall from Nashville who has never come in contact with Korean culture is eager to find out when the next Korean Students Association meeting is because he has fallen in love with the Korean culture while hanging out with me.
Fellow Eagles, I urge you to explore cultures and traditions unbeknownst to you back home. And if you cannot shake away the fear of being an anomaly in the back of the room while on your way to an AHANA or cultural club function, remember these words: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”