The distorted lens of the Kaleidoscope

LAST THURSDAY, students and administrators proudly unveiled the long-awaited "diversity center" which replaced the informal lounge in Newcomb Hall and christened it"Kaleidoscope: Center for Cultural Fluency." Officials and boosters announced hopes that the "new and different" space will provoke new and different discussion of culture and race that will lead to greater understanding and unity. Let's hope they're right -- because the current atmosphere at the University, fueled by a multitude of well-meaning but divisive programs and individuals, lends itself to censorship, intimidation and faction-forming rather than unity and free discourse.

The name Kaleidoscope itself is not encouraging, but will hopefully prove contradictory. When you look through a kaleidoscope you view not the unfettered potential of a free and fair world, but instead a landscape fractured by superimposed color and a distorted lens. We can only assume this is not what the Cultural Fluency Center promotes.

Advocates of "diversity" -- based reform often argue that the world currently exists in a fractured state, and that a major part of our problem is that we do not recognize it. Thus they want to show the sheltered masses the light. Perhaps this was the motivation behind the center's new name.

Indeed, revealing existing differences in culture and creed should be a part of any reform effort -

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