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Myrie Clarifies "Multiculturalism"

Myrie Clarifies "Multiculturalism"

Many people I have talked to about my Undergraduate Association presidential campaign position on "multiculturalism" have supported the idea that we need to eradicate cultural ignorance. However, I understand that others have felt alienated by the position. I am sorry that my intentions have been misinterpreted by some. I care too much about the undergraduate population to let any misunderstanding hinder any form of cultural discourse.

One of the things that sets MIT apart from other institutions is the option of choosing where we live beginning freshman year. Often, this leads to students living with those who share similar backgrounds. This is a good thing because it promotes a sense of security in an already tense environment. However, the disadvantage of this system is that people who are from different cultural backgrounds tend not to get to know each other. Hence, when conflict arises, there is no common ground between groups that can help resolve their differences. As UA president I hope to help create this common ground through multiculturalism.

In my opinion, multiculturalism is the interaction, understanding, and appreciation of all cultures. Furthermore, I feel that the term culture encompasses more than ethnic heritage and custom. To me, a culture is any body of people who share similar life experiences and deal with similar issues. I acknowledge that I am not well versed on every issue, which is why I encourage the community as a whole to assist in dealing with cultural ignorance. I am not calling for all people to come together, hold hands, and sing "Kum Ba Yah." What I am saying is that we should be able to get a degree without having to deal with the problems that cultural ignorance causes.

Sheldon W. Myrie '96

UAP cand