President Mitchell lectures on cultural diversity


CSUB President Horace Mitchell encouraged attending students to study abroad to gain a different perspective on American society. Ben Patton/ The Runner

By Carla Chacon


  Approximately 100 students filled the Multimedia Room to listen to Cal State Bakersfield President Horace Mitchell’s lecture on Wednesday.

  Standing behind a podium, President Mitchell presented a lecture on identity, and cultural diversity as guest speaker for Elaine Correa’s, professor of Child, Adolescent, and Family Affairs (CAFS) and program director, class.

  “The society in America is multidimensional, but our major institutions are not,” said Mitchell.

  The reason for this is that “the dominant institutions of our society are based on a Eurocentric world view.”

  But as Mitchell points out, there is nothing wrong with a Eurocentric world view. The issue arises when the Eurocentric view becomes hegemonic, meaning that it is placed in society as the ruling ideology.

  A hegemonic, Eurocentric worldview asserts the false notion that European culture has been at the center of human knowledge when, as Mitchell said, “All groups have contributed to the intellectual development of mankind…it is inappropriate to say that any one group’s contributions have been the primary contributions.”

  When educational institutions operate under a hegemonic, Eurocentric worldview, Non-Euro-Americans may be placed at a disadvantage because their cultural contributions are not being acknowledged.

  Mitchell pointed out that an issue in higher education institutions is underrepresentation of minorities in faculty, “One of our goals here at CSUB has been to continue to diversify our faculty so that it looks more like the student body.”

  Having a more diverse faculty benefits everyone, “All of us would be richer…in terms of knowledge if people were given opportunities.”

  Mitchell also emphasized the importance for individuals to expand their knowledge beyond the boundaries of their culture. During the Q&A, Mitchell said, “We are wanting more of our students to study abroad because when you are exposed to other cultures, you begin to look at American society in a different way.”

  Berenis Morfin, a 27-year-old sociology major, said that “The most interesting part was where he talked about travel…how it helps a lot to expand your knowledge and to view things from a different light, that not just one point of view is the correct point of view.”

  Elaine Correa, said Mitchell’s lecture, “…was very profound, and it had a strong impact for the students to be listening to the fact that they should not let other people tell them ‘no’. Don’t let other people decide or frame what you can or cannot do…push those limits.”