Posted on March 10, 2020

As a Teen POC, I’m Beyond Offended by That Racist College Recruiter

Victoria Feng, She Knows, March 8, 2020

When I first heard the news that an Oklahoma Christian University recruiter had asked students to line up by skin tone and hair texture for an “icebreaker exercise” I was beyond offended — but unfortunately not surprised. After all, I myself am a teen of color who is currently attending high school, and I know that these types of racist, assumption-based attitudes are far too common.

Of course, the recruiter tried to justify his actions by saying his aim was to teach the students that “they are all valued and warranted, which is what I [the recruiter] provide.” But if he truly believed that all students were valued, there would be no need to distinguish them by skin tone and hair texture.

Education about racial differences in America today should come from experts, not someone whose job is to recruit students to a university — and who appears to have received no formal training about how to discuss race. This particular method not only did not unify the kids or address the systematic racism that exists in our schools, it also highlighted their differences and made them feel uncomfortable about who they are.


What’s next?


So what would be an effective diversity training? According to CNN, in order to create a diversity training that actually creates change, trainers should rehearse responses with trainees, empower them to believe they have the potential to really make a difference, and (perhaps most importantly) last beyond just one day. While that CNN reporting was primarily aimed at the Starbucks incident, Oklahoma Christian University should take note.

At my own high school, which has been the most diverse school I have been to thus far, there has been action to increase representation. Every year, an event called World’s Fair is hosted to honor students with global backgrounds. {snip} Last year, my school held a diversity training day where a company came in to show videos from minority groups and have us talk about our experiences with discrimination. For me, these actions combined together show me, as a minority student, the commitment my school holds to recognizing the needs of people of color. {snip}

Meanwhile, in the case of the Oklahoma Christian University recruiter, it looks like he’s already landed his next job. Which is uninspiring, to say the least. Let’s hope his new employer has preemptively learned its lesson and has already instated comprehensive diversity trainings — well before he starts.