2020年1月11日 星期六

Race/Related: School Diversity Blunders

An uncomfortable incident at the University of Wisconsin.
In fall 2019, African-American students made up fewer than 1,000 of the 30,000 undergraduates at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.Lianne Milton for The New York Times

In 2000, when I was an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin, there was an incident on campus absurd and shocking enough to briefly turn the school into a national punch line.

Here is what happened: University officials preparing an admissions brochure had been searching — unsuccessfully — for a cover photo that could make the predominantly white campus appear to be racially diverse. So they found a picture of white students cheering at a football game and, in a clumsy Photoshop job, added the face of a young African-American man into the crowd.

The fakery was discovered quickly. The young man was a University of Wisconsin student at the time, and not just any student, but a senior who was a well-known activist and leader. His name was Diallo Shabazz. He had never been to a football game.

I had been thinking about Mr. Shabazz and Wisconsin’s history of racist incidents in recent months as I reported on an article about the University of Wisconsin. This time, the embarrassing and painful tale had to do with a promotional homecoming video that featured nearly all white students. As I monitored online reaction to the article after it was published, I perked up when I noticed the name of a new Twitter follower with a familiar face: Diallo Shabazz.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s déjà vu all over again,” Mr. Shabazz said when we talked on the phone a few days later, after exchanging a few Twitter messages. I had always wondered how the doctored photo had affected his life. “I ran away from it,” he said. “This was not the thing I wanted to be known for.”

But there was little he could do to hide. The Onion mocked the university. So did Jon Stewart in a segment on “The Daily Show.” Mr. Shabazz spoke out at a campus rally, demanding change. And of course, Mr. Shabazz’s face was everywhere, even after the brochures had been trashed and reprinted.

When Mr. Shabazz was in professional settings after graduation, people would tell him that they had read about the admissions brochure. They were curious why the university had done such a thing.

Mr. Shabazz, who is now 43 and works in education policy, said his alma mater was still struggling to recruit black students. Many of the reasons it offers today are the same as in 2000.

ADVERTISEMENT

Nearly 20 years separate the two incidents at the University of Wisconsin. But as Mr. Shabazz told me, much in Madison has remained the same. After the doctored photo was discovered in 2000, the university apologized to Mr. Shabazz and promised to improve its enrollment of students of color. Despite new recruitment efforts and scholarship programs, the number of African-American students at the university remains extremely low: In fall 2019, black students made up fewer than 1,000 of the 30,000 undergraduates at the flagship campus in Madison.

“One of the things they will often say is that they’re targeting a smaller pool,” Mr. Shabazz said. “They really want to serve as the top institution in the state for Wisconsin residents, and Wisconsin is not a very diverse state.”

At the same time, he said, “the university has no problem recruiting some of the best students of color — black students, Latino students from around the country — to play basketball and play football and to run track.”

He also said that what happened in Wisconsin is hardly unique to the campus, or to the state.

“This issue has happened at campuses all over the country,” he said. “Despite what I think are some sincere efforts to address diversity and inclusion concerns on campus, these have become very vivid visual indicators that we have a long way to go.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Since the story was published, I have heard from Wisconsin alumni from all over the country, a particularly loyal group with deep affection for their university. Some argued that our article made the university’s diversity problem worse, that it would make students of color even more reluctant to choose Madison over other schools, that I had made the administration’s work even harder.

But most who weighed in just wanted the school to change, to make more people want to be proud Badgers. “Do better, Bucky,” wrote Jason Gay, a sports columnist and Wisconsin graduate. As a Badger myself, I hope that we do.

EDITOR’S PICKS

We publish many articles that touch on race. Here are a few you shouldn’t miss.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Tell your friends.

Invite someone to subscribe to the Race/Related newsletter. Or email your thoughts and suggestions to racerelated@nytimes.com. Race/Related is a newsletter focused on race, identity and culture. It is published weekly on Saturday mornings at 7 a.m. and edited by Lauretta Charlton.

Need help? Review our newsletter help page or contact us for assistance.

You received this email because you signed up for Race/Related from The New York Times.

To stop receiving these emails, unsubscribe or manage your email preferences.

Subscribe to The Times

|

Connect with us on:

instagram

Change Your Email|Privacy Policy|Contact Us

The New York Times Company

620 Eighth Avenue New York, NY 10018

沒有留言:

張貼留言