Diversity is More Than Just Inclusivity

Two weeks ago, my pre-law LEAP professor announced to the class of approximately 15 students that a prestigious law professor from Yale Law School would be coming to the S.J. Quinney Law School to give a lecture on the Constitution and Reproductive Justice in the Age of Trump. She went on to say that she would give extra credit to the students who went and then wrote a page about the lecture.

I was excited to hear about the topic and to hear from law professor Reva Siegel.

As I got off the train and walked up the law school’s cement steps, I envisioned myself 3 years from now walking in on my first day of law school.

Walking in, I noticed the echoing silence. As I walked out of the elevator, I grabbed a brochure. Two women stood in front of the table, welcoming people. I stood in front of them for a minute and heard not a single hello or word of information. I ignored what had just happened and walked into the restroom. As I opened the door I heard one of the ladies who was supposed to be welcoming people to the reception say in greeting, “Hello there. Is there anything I can help you with? We have food and drinks. Please help yourself.” As I turned, I saw a group of white women had just gotten out of the elevator behind me. I didn’t know whether to brush it off and not take it personally or feel unaccepted and unwelcomed.

I analysed myself in the mirror from head to toe and told myself that no matter the long stares or gazes, “I am a strong powerful Latina.” The color of my skin was simply a piece of my never-ending self.

Walking out of the restroom confused and lost, I didn’t know what I would do or say for the next 30 minutes until the lecture actually started. But as I sat alone on an empty bench planning out my next step, I felt like I didn’t belong. I felt that, no matter how much I try, I will never truly be equal.

Let me tell you that diversity does not mean inclusivity, and not wearing a red MAGA hat or not saying rude and racist language does not make you any less racist. It doesn't make you any better than those people.

I know that not everyone will accept or be fine with a Mexican woman as a judge or lawyer or even student and teacher. To the white person reading this, however, I tell you: be the one who welcomes the person of a different background or a different skin color. Don’t be the one who ignores the issue. Rather, be the one who solves it.

Images: 1, 2