St. George’s population diversity is advancing, but false assumptions can tend to stick around.
The Multicultural and Inclusion Center strives to limit the perpetuating of stereotypes by creating an environment where students from all cultures can come together and learn about each other’s race and culture.
In a recent convention at the MIC, Howard Rainer, a motivational speaker, gave advice on how to interact with various cultures. Ideas included using body language such as eye contact, giving compliments, finding common interests, and supporting and uplifting each other.
Mike Nelson, the outreach coordinator for the Multicultural and Inclusion Center, said, “There is a common misconception in racial assumptions due to the lack of cultural competence.”
Last year DSU had approximately 8,500 undergraduates enroll, and approximately 1,900 of those students claimed non-Caucasian as their ethnicity. A lack of knowledge leads to grouping individuals, Nelson said.
This grouping includes such misinformation as all black people are from Africa, all Asians look alike and all Native Americans wear feathers and hunt game to eat food.
Danny Poleki, a freshman criminal justice major from American Samoa, said he gets asked all the time where he is from. The thing that bothers him the most about assumptions is the stereotype that all Samoans play sports or are only good for sports. Because of the culture and size of most Samoans, they are known for their athletic abilities.
Poleki said he doesn’t play much sports but is more focused on school and getting an education.
Stephen Heo, a senior business major from St. George, said, “Being Korean, I get asked a lot where I’m from. I’m not bothered by it.”
Heo said he would probably do the same if he were living in South Korea and saw someone from a different race or culture.
“People should choose not to be offended when someone asks where they are from or makes a wrong assumption,” Heo said.
Trona Moeioeolo, a freshman criminal justice major from Western Samoa, said he doesn’t mind what people think about him. If people assume wrong, they assume wrong, and life goes on.
“The key to being around mixed cultures is to leave it be, don’t look at them for their color, stay mellow and just go makes friends for who they are,” Moeioeolo said.