Diversity Training

by Tashun Chism When a resolution was proposed for the state of Virginia to offer an apology for its role in slavery, state legislator Frank Hargrove's response was that African Americans need to get over it. His comments are being widely criticized and even provoking some response here in East Texas.   "When some people talk about slavery they say, 'It happened almost 200 years ago and therefore we should get over it.' As a result of slavery, it has changed the attitude and the beliefs of Black people forever. And I'm telling you, forever it will change the way we look at things, " said Stephen F. Austin University Assistant Professor Dr. Kwame Badu Antwi-Boasiako. Hargrove isn't the only prominent person to draw criticism for controversial remarks lately. Isaiah Washington, one of the stars of the popular ABC prime time show Grey's Anatomy, recently apologized for anti-gay remarks he made toward follow cast member T.R. Knight. Some East Texans believe the best way to overcome issues of diversity is to openly discuss them. "In America we are politically divided but when it comes to some of these sensitive issues, we don't want to discuss it honestly," said Dr. Antwi-Boasiako. Others agree with respecting other people's differences, but think being too politically correct is also dangerous. "We should be sensitive to other people but we don't want to go so far with it that we have to worry about everything that we say to a point where it's ridiculous," said SFA student Kimberly Ingle. Many East Texans told us they believe public figures should enjoy the same rights to free speech as average Americans, but they should be careful to express their views responsibly. "They can get their point across without being sexist, without being racist and say what they want while being sensitive to the listener. Part of being in America is saying what you want but also taking in consideration other people's feelings," SFA student Bethany Rasmussen said.