In praise of diversity and inclusion | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

In my day as a student in the early 1960s, Bowdoin College was a bastion of homogeneity.

My class of 200 men included, as I recall, two African Americans, two Asian Americans and zero Hispanics. We had more students from my own high school in Delaware (three) than from the states of California, Florida, Washington and Illinois combined. We had no full-time international students, although a handful of students from abroad would spend a semester at the college. That said, about 25% of our classmates hailed from Maine, which set us apart from similarly homogeneous liberal arts colleges in New England.

Times have changed. Today’s Bowdoin students represent 48 states and 57 countries. Over 11% of the student body come from California, compared with just 10% from Maine. Domestic students of color represent nearly 40% of the student population.

While serving as “host parents” with the Bowdoin Host Family program, we have developed rewarding relationships with students from Oregon, California, Alabama, Vermont and New York as well as Cape Verde, Brazil, Bulgaria, Senegal and China.

Let me say this about the growth of diversity in my college and in our lives: It rocks. Moreover, we know from first-hand experience that you can’t judge a student by his or her state or country of origin. Students have always been distinctly unique individuals, but today’s students are much more willing than students in our day to express and celebrate their individuality.

Bowdoin has often been accused, perhaps rightly, of being a “bubble.” But vast swatches of America today are more deserving of the bubble label than Bowdoin. I’m thinking of the millions of Americans who take pride in being “anti-woke.”

Members of the “anti-woke” crowd don’t want schools to teach “critical race theory” because their white children might feel guilty about the sins of their ancestors. They don’t want their kids to read about issues of sexual preference or identity, because they believe their kids might be brainwashed.

They bow at the altar of Donald Trump, the president who awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh, an openly racist and sexist entertainer, yet bristle when being accused of being sexist or racist. They trumpet their brand of patriotism, while supporting a man who tried to overturn a presidential election. They use scripture to back up their political views while cheering on a bellicose bully, a serial sexual predator. The blatant hypocrisy boggles the mind of any sane observer.

Let’s tell it straight: Members of the anti-woke crowd are terrified that white Americans will lose their majority status. In 2050, 47% of the U.S. population will be non-Hispanic white, compared with 67% back in 2006. On a hopeful note, attitudes can change. Today, for example, 71% of Americans approve of same-sex marriage versus only 27% in 1998. Maybe, just maybe, if more people are exposed to “the other,” (e.g. non-white, non-Christians) they will discover the lasting and deep joys of diversity.

A cartoon that recently flew around Facebook captured the phenomenon. A man in front of a time machine says, “I dialed it to go to Florida and it took me to 1930’ Germany.”

Where do we want to go, America? What future will we choose?

David Treadwell, a Brunswick writer, welcomes commentary and suggestions for future “Just a Little Old” columns. [email protected]

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