Thanks to PAW for devoting a full issue (Jan. 13) to “Reflecting on race in the Obama era.” Princeton has built a diverse student body in racial and ethnic composition and income strata. The articles on race reveal that representational diversity does not automatically lead to true functional diversity within the University community.
Robust studies about the role of various racial and ethnic groups in this nation’s history amplify the narrative of American history and benefit students from all groups, including whites. Deep conversations on issues particular to specific groups build understanding that enhances relationships across all races. The University had the vision to establish African-American studies and Latino studies. Asian-American studies needs to be included as a vital part of the whole — not only for the largest minority group on campus, but for students of all backgrounds.
It is not that we are a monolithic University community seeking to become diverse. It’s that we’re a diverse community seeking to become whole. Through understanding, we gain perspective. With perspective, we exercise better judgment and build a better society — as employees, employers, parents, neighbors, and members of our communities. Thus the University nurtures citizens for tomorrow: culturally competent, inter-group literate, and functionally diverse Princetonians in the nation’s service and in the service of all nations.