Minority models misleading

Nicole Robinson

I recently received an e-mail, asking for photo volunteers from the News Bureau and opened it immediately.

Being a photography minor, I thought it might have to do with needing people to take photos and I would jump at that chance.

For me to sit in a photo that is trying to say to future students, “Hey, I’m Asian and I picked UW-Eau Claire,” is false and misleading.

However, to my disappointment I discovered this e-mail was instead asking me to be a part of a photo shoot that needed diversity represented for future recruitment publications.

I hoped for the sake of the News Bureau that I was chosen to be a part of these photo shoots because I was randomly picked. However, I asked a few of my Caucasian friends if they received an e-mail and none of them had. I then asked one of my friends, who happens to be black, if he had received one, and of course, he did. I felt like we had been targeted.

I couldn’t help but be taken aback and feel a little offended that I was chosen to be in this photo shoot only because of the color of my skin.

I almost felt like they were trying to plan these publication photos out and thought, “OK, now we just need one Asian to sit here,” and then shot me an e-mail.

Yes, I am Asian, but really I’m no different than any other student besides my appearance. I was adopted from Seoul, South Korea when I was 4 months old and have been raised by American parents and lived a completely American life.

So for me to sit in a photo that is trying to say to future students, “Hey, I’m Asian and I picked UW-Eau Claire,” is false and misleading.

According to the Office of Multicultural Affairs, multicultural students make up less than 5 percent of the total student population for 2005.

I honestly don’t think I could stomach it to sit for a photo next to an African-American student and an American Indian student and pretend this is what Eau Claire looks like.

The breakdown of multicultural students at this university includes 55 African-American students, 59 American Indian students, 136 Asian-American students, 148 Southeast Asian students and 88 Hispanic/Latino students, according to the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

So how does having a student pictured from each of these groups really represent Eau Claire?

I’ve always noticed when looking at Eau Claire brochures and the campus Web site, that there seems to be a lot of multicultural students gracing the pages.

I never thought these students were actually scouted out to be there.

I was actually quite refreshed seeing the home of our Web page had changed from a very posed group of multicultural students to a more accurate depiction of a few Caucasian students.

I also recall a time when a photographer came into my Spanish class to take pictures for the university. I just happened to sit in front of my friend who is black and we kind of joked to each other, “Let’s see how many pictures this guy takes of us.”

Yet, sure enough we felt the flash bulbs going off in our direction during the entire class.

Being diverse doesn’t always have to mean having a different race, the word itself means variety.

Every student at this campus is different in his or her own way and that is the diversity we should be representing to future students. Everyone knows our campus is not as diverse as others, so why are we trying to fake it?