By Zoe Loos | Opinion Columnist
Saint Mary’s has failed to manifest an inclusive community because of its seminar program. This is old news to individuals who have already heard about the flawed seminar program. However, it is important to never halt the critical examination of this institution.
Why is it only now, in my fourth year of seminar, that I have been able to absorb the brilliant thoughts of women of color—Anzaldúa, Lorde, Jin, and Lahiri? I have had to search elsewhere for my intellectual nourishment and take Multicultural Thought, my fifth seminar class, in order to substantially see inclusion of diverse literature.
We should have read texts that reached beyond the intellect of the white, heterosexual, Christian, western male ideology in the beginning of Seminar. This is not to dismiss the works of Aristotle, Socrates, or Plato, but they are simply not inclusive. This is not what the College is founded on, and this is not what the college claims to be its “mission.”
An inclusive community is about continually striving for the complete wholeness of the world. Let us read works from a variety of communities: men and women of color, transgender folks, LGBTQ+, the differently abled, various religions, and so on.
If Saint Mary’s College is committed to being inclusive, then they should start by feeding the brains of students with wisdom that is not one-sided and exclusive. Some would argue that we are in fact reading from multiple perspectives. However, while Dante and Machiavelli are different individuals, they are both white western men and therefore do not encompass an inclusive community.
It is critical for people of marginalized communities to see some aspect of their lives in literature. Reading and discussing these lives allows all of us to survive the constant bombardment of false narratives and systematic suffering—to humanize everyone.
Other stories must be told to counteract incomplete narratives. Yes, I understand that it is hard to include every diverse community, but it is not right to only incorporate such communities in the last year of my seminar experience. There are many marginalized groups that have never even had a single author represented in Seminar. Give all of us our own identities.
We have been fed the lie that our entire nation is a melting pot of diversity. This melting pot is a soup of assimilation, an attempt for oppressors to boil down marginalized communities into palatable sameness they can control. Our society and College do not coalesce as often as we hope. Those of us pushed to the side will stand there no longer. Our bones will not be boiled down—give us our identities now, we need to hear ourselves.
Zoë Malia Ozoa Loos is one of five columnists featured in the Opinion Section. She is a senior majoring in environmental studies and ethnic studies. Zoë enjoys watching nature and cultural documentaries and doing aqua aerobics with the elderly at her local YMCA.