People watching

UNC is diverse, right? 

There have been plenty of reports saying it isn’t, and sitting in Lenoir during lunch rush hour, I cannot help but agree with this sentiment. I watch the crowds of students and see a mix of ages, sizes and fashion choices, but my mind keeps returning to a similar thought: This is a WHITE school. 

Yes, they are a variety of races and ethnicities at Carolina. Yes, people come from all over the world to attend this school. And yes, race is a factor in the application process to get admitted, incentivizing and prioritizing being a minority.

But the diversity I am looking for certainly cannot be found in the places I am. I see cliques break up in places like lenoir and, sadly enough, the common thread connecting groups in these cliques is race. I’m certainly not immune to this either; my table is comprised of white kids from North Carolina.  

Maybe that is my fault; I am in a major that is dominated by caucasian girls (Journalism) and work for a publication where I struggle to identify more than five or six non-white employees on a staff of hundreds. I grew up in Cary, which isn’t exactly the hood and have plenty of friends from the area who all look exactly like me — your average upper-middle-class white kid from the suburbs. 

But maybe this isn’t my fault. Is UNC, and to a lesser extent the J-school and The Daily Tar Heel, responsible for surrounding me with people who are not like me at all? It would almost definitely make the overall college experience more worthwhile and memorable, but the University’s primary goal is to provide me with a quality education. It’s not UNC’s issue that I choose classes that happen to have 100 other kids from Cary in them.  

While I cannot entirely fault UNC for lacking diversity — their plate is full with numerous other issues that having been dragging on for years and still haven’t been resolved — the DTH is an entirely different conversation.

As the primary news outlet for the campus, our newsroom/sources/coverage should reflect the diversity on-campus. I think many groups would argue the paper covers a certain issue too much, while neglecting another completely. For instance, one of our former writers was proud that I choose to put the “Don’t shoot” pit movement on the front page. To me, that was a no-brainer — a campus event related to a national controversy that is dominating national news is literally every U-desk editor’s dream! But for her to be proud and even a bit surprised that it was on the front page took me back. Of course this was going to be on the front page. What are we doing wrong that some people are surprised it is there?  


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