Dr. Davis and Diversity

angela davis flyer

Photo courtesy of sait.usc.edu

“I have a hard time accepting diversity as a synonym for justice.” – Dr. Angela Davis

When a legend speaks, it’s best to listen. Around 850 people lined up to spend an evening with civil rights leader Dr. Angela Davis on Monday evening, many of them students, many of them grateful members of the surrounding community. I myself stood for nearly two hours for a chance to hear the words of this historical Revolutionary.

Dr. Davis’ profundity and honesty were astounding. In a country obsessed with upholding “political correctness,” I was refreshed to hear a powerful woman speak her mind. I was particularly impressed by the quote above, one of many statements for which the African American-dominated audience cheered.

Diversity has become a two-edged sword where demographics are concerned. People often assume that variation is the same as equality, which allows the unconcerned majority to turn a blind eye to any inequalities. According to Dr. Davis, people would rather declare us all equal than work to make that declaration reality.

“Diversity is difference that makes no difference at all,” Dr. Davis said.

We are not a post-racial society so long as anyone thinks that we are. I am exceedingly proud to be part of such a wonderfully diverse campus, but we must remember that diversity is merely a stepping-stone to justice. USC has a long way to go, but this is a student body capable of great things and positive progress.

Angela Davis lead radical charges for civil rights in her day, and I believe what’s important to take away from her inspiring message is this: There are still battles to be won.

Fight on.

Remaya Campbell is a freshman majoring in film and television production, and NGOs and social change. Her column, “Color Lines,” runs Wednesdays.