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THE “I” IN MINORITY

Posted by on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 in Cultural Awareness, Many Voices, One VU.

Bridgette Brown, ’18,
Peabody College

As I walk into my fourth class of the day, I take a look around the room and notice that I am the Black woman in the room. I take my seat, and I note that this class marks the fourth one to lack students that resembled me.

“As I walk into my fourth class of the day, I take a look around the room and notice that I am the Black woman in the room.”
“As I walk into my fourth class of the day, I take a look around the room and notice that I am the Black woman in the room.”

For the past two years at Vanderbilt, I have heard the terms diversity and inclusion. Before attending Vanderbilt, I had high hopes for this diversity and inclusion. I was well aware that Vandy was a predominantly White institution, but I was hopeful that I, a Black woman, would have some representation on campus. On Move-In Day, I walked up and down the hall of my first year residence in hopes of seeing the diversity that Vanderbilt had to offer. I quickly noticed what seemed like a racial divide on my hall. As I ventured past the last hall bathroom, it became apparent that this was the minority side of the floor. All of the rooms including mine housed Black, Hispanic, and Asian students. The random assignment in housing no longer seemed so random.

These incidents are telling of my experiences at Vanderbilt. One where there is a lack of minority students, and the other where minority populations on campus are represented, but the white student body is not. In my two years, I have yet to find how to combine these experiences. Is it possible to be in a room with representation of all students on campus?

The jury is still out, but I have hope for the future. Where will our mission of diversity and inclusion take us? Actions speak louder than words and we must each be the change we want to see in our own community. I implore incoming members of our community to open your minds and exit your comfort zones. Educate yourselves on inclusivity by not only attending discussions but by interacting and immersing yourselves in diverse spaces with genuine intentions. Those efforts are a just a small step in the direction of bridging the gap and creating a better Vanderbilt.

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