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Letter: Why diversity?

Yes, this is another letter addressing the whole controversy regarding our dearest vice president Larry Moneta. There are a million criticisms I could give on the incident that happened on Monday, but I want to offer a slightly different perspective, because while this case was clearly influenced by Moneta’s opinions and actions, the perpetrator of other cases may not be so clear.

It’s not secret that Duke prides itself on being diverse and that it continues to try to become more diverse. Just last semester, Duke announced that it would completely randomize housing for first-year students in hopes of exposing students to others with different backgrounds and cultures. Moneta’s actions, however, suppressed the very goal of diversity that Duke wanted to achieve. He wasn’t the only one who thought that Dolph’s song was inappropriate for a coffeeshop. I have several friends who thought the same and I am certain that there are many people who hold that belief. But why is it that we find jazz more appropriate than rap or that a Taylor Swift song about sex is more appropriate than a N.W.A song about police brutality? The answer is simple:


Larry Moneta found the words in “Get Paid” offensive because he didn’t consider the cultural basis of the language used in rap. Many say that white people don’t have culture, but in truth, white culture is everywhere, white culture dictates what is and isn’t appropriate. Moneta was in a special position of power to be able to flex the muscles of white culture, but that doesn’t mean that other cultures aren't being suppressed every day by norms. I hope that we all become more conscientious of what we find “appropriate” and how that deepens the current norms set by powerful, white men. If Duke and its students value diversity, we need to stop dissecting our culture to fit the norms and stop shaming others’ cultures for not fitting the norms.


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