Diversity Day not Diverse Enough?


Maya Dawson

Sophomore Caidan White leads an effort to include a conservative speaker on next year’s Diversity Day panel.

       When Sophomore Caidan White looked at the list of Diversity Day speakers for this  Friday’s event he noticed a trend among many of the sessions.

       “The definition of diversity is getting all points of view. And if you’re not getting all points of view it’s not diverse,” White said.

       Though students may pick from 15 lectures and workshops to attend, with topics ranging from yoga to human trafficking, White felt that one demographic was conspicuously absent from the panel.

       “A lot of the speakers in diversity day align more with the left, and I’m not going to say it’s a ‘left’ thing, but there are Islamaphobia speakers, LGBTQ+ speakers, and a few others. These are not bad things, but they’re definitely pushing left ideals on kids,” White said.

       With this in mind, he decided to take action. Working with freshman Shayne Manzer White created a petition, which now has over 100 signatures. The petition urges the school to include a conservative speaker in future diversity days.

       “The speaker would mainly be answering questions and bringing something new to the table,” White said. “I would like to hear anyone who can explain conservatism and bring up good points to help kids.”

       Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, the paper copy of White’s petition can no longer be circulated, but he plans to convert the petition to a digital format so students can continue to make their voices heard.

       This year’s Diversity Day panel features a political speaker, but the lecture is not what White and his peers are looking for in terms of representation.

       “The reason I want a conservative speaker is because yes, they have Left vs. Right, but the other individual speakers are more left-leaning, so I was like, alright, we need to get someone who is on the right so kids can truly choose,” White said.

       White feels that exposure to the views of both parties is important for students to be able to take an educated stance on politics. Though White is conservative he clarifies that his petition is about equal representation rather than partisan politics.

       “It’s not really about me. It’s about making sure the kids who go to Diversity Day get to have a truly diverse day,” White said. “If the speakers were completely conservative I would be doing the same thing, being like, ‘we need to get a left-wing speaker in here.’”

       White sees this petition as the beginning of a much larger conversation within the school system.

       “It’s about starting with diversity but going everywhere. In a public school, we don’t talk about political ideologies, but we need to get full views so kids can make their own choices,” White said.

       Politics have become the elephant in the classroom for many teachers, but White feels that the lack of opportunities for students to discuss politics in the classroom results in an uneducated student body and an inability for students to vocalize their beliefs.

       “It’s not about this Diversity Day,” White said. “It’s about the future. It’s about everyone having an equal say in the school system.”