My Voice: Commoditization of identity

Should a college be your choice because of the amount of people with certain nationalities? That’s definitely one marketing push for American colleges–and you don’t see them advertising how white they are.

“Diversity” is the newest advertisement. We’re getting too close for comfort in treating people as tools for profit.

It’s tough to say or advertise you’re proud of groups of people if you also limit your admissions, opportunities and student organizations by racial qualifiers.

A specific issue lies within the marketing premise that a college should be your choice as an institute because of its level of foreign students.

I am amazed it’s commonplace for educational institutions to get into measuring contests about how non-white and how ‘international’ they are.

Students, especially those that are guests in our country to learn, are not bargaining to be raised or matched at the blackjack table of postsecondary education.

If you haven’t looked at the numbers, colleges receive hundreds of thousands in diversity grants. These are not formally disclosed outright in the budget–they are a different type of contract.

Again, diversity grants do not remotely bother me. Now, some of the marketing decisions made by some colleges to fabricate appearances using guests in our country as objects for profit, I believe deserves inquiry.

Why is there an endeavor to misrepresent campuses? It’s certainly not possible to grasp the entirety a school in one marketing promo, but colleges go out of the way to create some marketable appearance using some trendy ideology.

I simply want to know the reasoning behind why that intent is ethical, to actively go around the reality within a college for profit.

What good does a college get from assuring that every photo of a campus is filled with a racial quota?

In business, this does not ‘just happen.’ There is a purpose to it and campuses spend millions on these endeavors. Is it right for a college to treat specific nationalities and racial identities as a marketing tool?

Agendas are competing for a monopoly in the education market. The trend that’s used seems to change over time, just like the market.

Eventually, perhaps the desire to increase money into universities has lead to the erosion of core principles. We think if the college gets more money, it’s better for the students. However, that’s quite well evidenced not to be the case.

The answer isn’t always to expand or fill the administration’s pockets.

I did not know our identities were something we found acceptable to exploit from our institutions. Even worse, do we accept and support the exploitation of non-citizens?

At that point, it is no longer a personal choice, it is a system you participate in as a consumer: the commoditization of identities.

I would really hope a college looks at me as a student first, before they attach an identity to me. I’ll keep dreaming.

To graduates, will they market your distance from the majority population or your academics? To answer that, perhaps we need to know what product our institutions want to sell. Is your identity for sale?

Barton Kleen
Executive Editor

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