It’s time to cross the race line

“That’s where the black kids eat.”

“Over here, this is where we should sit.”

Casually eavesdropping on conversations while waiting in line for food at the Student Center, you’ll occasionally hear some disturbing things. Sometimes the conversations are simply vulgar. Sometimes the conversations go into a little too much detail about that guy she spent the night with on Saturday. Other times, the conversations can paint a picture in unsettling detail about certain issues on the Kent State campus.

Race is a delicate topic for most anyone to discuss when in mixed, sometimes unfamiliar company. People tend to get squirmy when they’re uncomfortable, and oftentimes have difficulty expressing their views as clearly and accurately as they would normally be capable.

Enough of that.

It is time for race to be discussed in full, unadulterated honesty. We do not claim to know everything surrounding the topic of race, especially on this campus. But as journalists, we are trained in the art of observation, so we feel inclined to lead the conversation.

Here is a suggested starting point: Open your eyes. Open your ears. Open your mind.

It seems the three simple steps would be quite easy to achieve. Unfortunately, many people do not arrive at Kent State equipped with the requisite skills to make these steps become a reality. Many students, regardless of race or ethnicity, are unfamiliar with any kind of people that look different from them. This unfamiliarity, if not discussed early, can lead to disconcerting results.

One of the many beauties of the college experience is learning how to spread your wings and experience new ideas and lifestyles. This type of statement looks great on paper. The new Kent State Diversity Plan even outlines several key points of interest that would ensure increased diversity on campus, furthering the proverbial wingspan of the college experience.

The diversity plan is a tremendous concept. It is a step in the right direction. But it does not even attempt to tackle the issues that students face on a daily basis in everyday life on our campus.

Instead of simply observing the issues, it is time for students to do something about it. Strike up a conversation with someone that you’ve never talked with before. Find someone of a different race and make it a point to get to know them. Understand their experiences. Share your experiences. You may find that many of the issues cross racial boundaries. Keep the conversation open. Invite others to contribute to the dialogue.

It is also important to remember that race does not begin and end with white and black. In today’s American society, it may seem as if that may be the case. It could not be further from the truth.

No real-life conversation about race would be more enlightening than one that features intelligent college students crossing all racial and ethnic lines. If open-mindedness would trump all other traits of the conversation, something would actually get done. Another step in the right direction would be achieved.

Instead of being victims to racial and ethnic issues, we need to work and think together to reach the common goal of awareness and action.

Shouldn’t we all be walking together in the same race, anyway?

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.