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Men of Color bring awareness to discrimination through their Diversity Simulation event

October 3rd, 2018 | by Liv Mason

On Tuesday, October 2nd, the Men of Color, a club at Briar Cliff University, chose to host a Diversity Simulation event. This event was a re-enactment of a societal structure where things are granted and denied based on different identity markers of the individuals that would be participating.

“The activity works to give students a sense of adversity by establishing an environment where diverse concepts like racial discrimination, profiling, white privilege, affirmative action, are deliberate and in your face. The simulation also provides a view of systems of oppression that show how hard it is for certain people to be successful in society,” said Justin Rhodes, Multicultural Program Coordinator at Briar Cliff University.

The idea came from Rhodes himself. He wanted to educate the Briar Cliff Community on what it is like to be a person of difference.

“I think it is valuable education and growth in diversity when people can empathize with the struggles that others face. I have seen this sort of activity done for poverty so I sort of pieced together this simulation to accomplish the same goal of providing a firsthand look at the obstacles people of color face. Also some of the privileges that we take for granted,” said Rhodes.

Leah Perry, a junior at Briar Cliff and member of the Women of Color spoke on just how powerful this event truly was.

“At such a predominately white school, I think people tend to forget what privilege they truly have. To me, this event shows people that things aren’t always how they seem. It shows what the lives of people of color truly are and how they can be treated by people in their everyday society,” said Perry.

The Men of Color became involved in this event because of their mission. According to one member, the event caused a huge impact across campus to all that attended.

“I think it’s so important that people attended this event simply because of the meaning behind it. No one understands what a person of color faces on a daily basis until they find themselves in that situation. The simulation allows that to happen. By going through this I get to experience, in a way at least, what it’s like to be discriminated against because of my race or my upbringing. It’s a terrible thing but shedding light on these situations is the only way to truly understand them,” says Dillon Reynolds, a senior member of the Men of Color at Briar Cliff.

The Men of Color hope to host more events like this in the future.

Briar Cliff is a place where people come to live their truth, according to Rhodes who said,"Being a predominately white institution this sort of event can have a huge impact on the culture here at BCU. It gives our white students and our students of color an opportunity to reflect and connect on how society can develop these disadvantages for some. If students can effectively attend and process this sort of event, they can help to grow a culture at BCU where every student can live their truth. They can be at a university where their unique struggle or piece of diversity is valued and not seen as a hindrance. A culture that understands that equality does not mean being equal is a culture where anyone can thrive.”

Men of Color logo illustrated on back of child's sweatshirt

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