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Race relations and diversity a topic of discussion on university - KOAM TV 7

Race relations and diversity a topic of discussion on university campus

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According to a recent Gallup poll, 30 percent of Americans are satisfied with the state of race relations in the United States. This is down from 55 percent one year ago. While the discussion of race and diversity has always been vital to a thriving nation, some believe recent events have made it even more pressing to talk about.

This includes Pittsburg State University student, Darrell Chism, who says there needs to be more talk of race relations on campus.

"If it doesn't really affect you personally, you necessarily aren't going to be interested in figuring that out."

A member of PSU's Black Student Association, Chism also works in the office of student diversity.  

While he says he hasn't directly experienced racial tension on campus, it's still a concern.

"Race is a pretty hard topic to talk about in America, just because of all the past, people have a hard time talking about that sort of thing," he said.

There are various groups across the campus where students and faculty work to promote diversity.  

One in particular is the Tilford Group, in which professor Mark Johnson has helped to host round table discussions.

"About any type of diversity, whether it's heritage, culture, language, sexual orientation, racism, religious, political, you name it," said Johnson. "We've had discussions about that."

Chism says this helps greatly, but there still needs to be more.  

One of his goals this year is to host public forums on campus.

"A discussion among everyone," said Chism. And you know, you say whatever you want, whatever background you come from. You say your point and we move from there. Just honest dialogue." 

Professor Johnson says any opportunity for student's to learn more about each other is beneficial.  

"Get to the heart of who the person is," said Johnson. "Understand them. And that dialogue really opens up a whole world of learning."

Chism agrees. He says if there's one thing that's most important about race relations, whether it's here on campus or elsewhere, it's to always ask questions."

"Whether or not they agree with your point or not, it's better that have that conversation than to just let it go by the way side."

Chism recommends anyone eager to talk or learn more about race relations and other diversity topics. to visit the Office of Student Diversity at PSU.

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