1/22/14

The lack of Cultural Competency during K-State’s Women’s Basketball Game

**Editors note: Whew! So I just sent off my "complaint" email to the K-State Athletics, K-State President's office, K-State Student Life, K-State Diversity Office, and the K-State newspaper -Collegian. Quite interested to hear their response**

To Whom it may concern,

 On, Saturday January 18, 2014 I attended my first K-State athletic event. As a graduate student and a member of the Fort Riley community it was exciting to see the K-State Women’s basketball team, excel and conquer against their rivals. Throughout the crowd I saw a sampling of the diverse students and community members and it was awesome, that said individuals could come together for a sporting event. Unfortunately my enthusiasm was dashed during a video clip of “name that tune.”

If you would allow me to paraphrase: In the clip, two female players are listening to music; one member begins to sing in Spanish to a popular song. The other member interrupts her says “"I'm sorry but this is America..."--- the song is changed to a popular Beyoncé song. Watching the clip I was shocked and appalled.

I immediately looked to my husband who is both a Naturalized American citizen and an active duty member of the Army, all he could say was, “Welcome to Kansas.” I am unsure of the response of the domestic and international diverse student/community members, but I was left with a distasteful feeling.
 
 As an educator, I find the lack of oversight and cultural competency quite problematic. Whether or not this was intentional, someone on staff should have been cognizant that the verbiage was highly offensive.
 
 Perhaps, this is a common video played at all games and no one has complained, so you all thought it was fine. I take issue with the propaganda, that speaking a language other than English, is un-American. This message is divisive and not an accurate representation of K-State, especially as the face of the college student is rapidly changing.
 
 According to a K-State Today article, fall 2013 had "the most diverse student body in university history includes 3,458 who identify as black, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, Hawaiian/Pacific islander or multiracial. In fall 2012 that number was 3,379... [Fall 2013] had more Hispanic students [and in] "fall 2013 --2,106 students came to K-State from more than 100 countries. That's a one-year increase of 61 international students."
 
Therefore, to witness passive bigotry in the form of ‘entertainment’ is mindboggling and wholly unacceptable. I have attended PWI (predominately white institutions) for my bachelors and now for my master’s degree, and I am often asked by other POC’s (people of color) my opinion about K-State; “is it diverse?” “Is there a place for us?” “if I knew what I know now, would I go there?”… Unfortunately, I don’t feel like a Wildcat nor have I found my space yet.

Instances like last Saturday promulgate my feelings of being “other” as this ‘entertainment’ provides a realistic picture into the culturally insensitive nature of various K-State members.

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