Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fitting into a Box

Amy Soga

The discussion on race and diversity has always been a sensitive subject in the United States. With the minorities in our country growing every day the discussion of race and diversity will continue to be one of great importance. Many Americans in the United States do not see themselves as one race or ethnicity, but as a person who will not merely fit into one specific box. Growing up and taking standardized tests or filing out documents I always looked at the box marked "other" and thought about who might check that box. Why is there a need for an "other box"? Why can't everyone be represented how they want to be and not be an "other"? Why can't we choose how we describe our ethnicity and race? In the article, Why the Race Debate is Far From Over by Yumi Wilson, she says that one woman growing up had only the option of checking boxes for black or white when she didn't identify herself as either. Living in a country that is so racial diverse it is hard to imagine having only two options of race. That is why our generation refuses to identify ourselves as one specific box or tell people we are black or white. We are continuing the conversation about race across campuses all over the country. We are making our own identities and beliefs about who we are.

The debate over choosing a race is not limited to school tests and legal documents, but extends into the journalism world as well. Diversifying the newsroom and reporting stories both good and bad about all races is something that needs to become more prevalent for journalists. When a newspapers circulation is made up of multiple races and ethnicities shouldn't the newsroom reporting on them be as well? How can a newsroom that lacks diversity report on stories that may not affect them? Minorities are growing and have been for awhile so our newsrooms need to catch up with the demographics of our country and represent all types of people. One example of the growth and changing demographics in our country comes from the 2010 census. This year is the first time the census has allowed people to identify themselves as mixed-race. Now more than 4.2 million American children are identified as multiracial. This number will continue to grow every year and I believe our number of different races and ethnicities in the newsroom should as well.

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