We go through life making difficult decisions. One of those ridiculously tough decisions is whether we want to work, go to college, or do both, upon graduating from high school. You apply relentlessly to a number of institutions in hopes of being accepted to a school of higher learning and then you wake up to the cold hard reality of what you have to present to the admissions office, as well as complete at orientation.
Speaking from personal experience, I only applied to one school here in the Golden State. I was not worried one bit about my grades, even though they weren't top-notch. I was provisionally accepted and upon the fall of my freshman year, I attended orientation. It was pretty simple. You were relayed some simple guidelines about what to do and what not to do on campus. You were given student handbooks and you met people who showed you around campus and yada yada yada.
Well, certainly times have changed. Amherst College in Massachusetts has set up a brand-spanking-new, mandatory participatory event at their orientation for incoming freshmen.
Incoming students...will attend a mandatory screening of “I’m Not Racist...Am I?”, a film about racism and white privilege, during their new student orientation.
The Amherst orientation schedule says incoming students will attend a two hour event titled, “‘I'm Not Racist ... Am I?’ Film and Discussion - MANDATORY”.
The film “I’m Not Racist...Am I?” is a 2014 documentary that follows twelve New York City teens of varying races over the course of a year. Throughout the year, the teens participate in five workshops about racism, including playing a board game called “The American Dream,” making a song about racism, and discussing the “N-word.” (Campus Reform)
Okay, I'm not going to stand/sit here and make you think I'm exuding some sort of white privilege. I grew up with wonderful parents and a great sister who helped teach me that racism is not only wrong, but that I shouldn't associate myself with racists. I understand it's wrong. I understand that hate, bigotry, etc., are taught and learned. It's not a condition with which one is born. You certainly CAN learn to NOT be racist. However, science does show that it's easier to meld the minds of younger adults than adults who are longer in the tooth. I get that.
What I don't understand is why colleges and universities are instilling it upon themselves to meld the minds of our future generations with the agenda they present on a daily basis. Granted more often than not, college students are using loans from the bank to attend college. When it involves public state universities, a certain amount of taxpayer money goes into those schools. So, one would imagine the schools were utilizing those funds to the better interest of the students rather than their employees' and board of trustees' personal narratives.
Let's look at this from another angle: why can't you make this "event" part of a club on campus. Why can't you make it part of an elective/extra class for a student to take? Why can't you include this in a class that's part of a minor/major course of study? Making this mandatory for incoming students would probably make them less comfortable in attending this school. Could you imagine if you have a kid who had his/her heart and dreams set on a school, and it required him to do something similar to what Amherst College is doing? He/she would be really concerned whether the school was the right choice.
There is a way to address racism. There is a way to fix racism. There's not an absolutely perfect way to rid the world of racism. I understand the reasoning why "Black Lives Matter" was formed. I don't agree with the execution of their message in the countless protests. I agree that black men, women, and children are disproportionately targeted in life. Do we still have the existential divide between blacks, whites, Hispanics/Latinos, Asians, etc.? Absolutely. I don't think we can live in a world with as much racism as there seems to be. In contrast, I don't think we can live in a world where racism is completely eradicated.
We are taught that love trumps hate. We're also taught that one should treat one like you want to be treated. Those values are instilled upon us at a very young age. There are some people out there who are set in their ways, and no matter how much love you show them, they may never break out of their shell and change, not only for the better of himself/herself, but for the better of the people in their lives.
Sometimes there are factors in life that are, not necessarily completely, but almost beyond our control. In the end, ask yourself a couple questions outside of colleges and universities. They're a couple simple questions to provide some insight on yourself:
Would you consider yourself a racist, bigot, or a hate-monger?
Do you feel your race, opinions, and self-worth is more important than anyone else in your life?
Can you live a happy life having civil discourse with others rather than shoving an agenda down someone else's throat?
This is my opinion, and my opinion alone: If you answered no, no, and yes, respectively, to the previous questions, then you should go about your life as you were. I'm not saying you're a perfect person, but then again, who is? If you answered the opposite of those answers I provided, then perhaps you have some work to do on yourself, and quite frankly, you don't need an "institution of higher learning" (especially publicly-funded ones) to provide that work for you. Private universities can essentially walk to the beat of their own drum.
Just remember, college isn't always the answer once you graduate. Consider apprenticeships or trade schools. Also, if colleges & universities will demand you sit through something like this, then you should consider some different options to continue your education.