I graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint. I’m a #TrueBlue Wolverine. While no higher education institution or system is perfect I love my Maize and Blue.
I work at Michigan State University. I whole-heartedly believe #SpartansWill and that the students and alumni are phenomenal human beings.
So what did I wear for today, which has been dubbed College Colors Day?
My Maize and Blue!
I may or may not have stopped several cyclists and gotten multiple angry stares as I walked into work this morning.
Its apparent the hold that school pride and the football rivalrys (let’s be honest it’s all based on football) have created.
For the past week I have been thinking: being a Michigan Wolverine is part of my identity. So why not identify with it in a visible way on a day such as this, where you show pride in your school and alma mater?
As I thought, I began to see two ways to consider why or why not for me to visibly identify as a Wolverine today.
- Subdue the identity in order to fall in line with the institution I work at and to make Spartans on campus comfortable in their space.
- Show my identity and example how to balance and hold an identity when you are the only one.
Both have merit and I honestly don’t think there is a right or wrong answer.
Obviously, you know which way I decided to take. Perhaps I chose this way because it’s a subconscious way of trying to bring identity inclusion/exclusion to light in a very simple yet applicable metaphor. Maybe I needed an opportunity to take a visible position of my multiple minority identities. Maybe because I’m more of a practical practitioner exampling is the best way for me to teach. Or maybe I’m just being stubborn. 🙂
Regardless, as we enter football season and the biggest season for school pride, we should consider our colleagues, supervisors, employees, and even transfer students, and how their identify with their alma maters. It’s still an identity and while we love creating school pride on our campuses for each other and our students, we also shouldn’t hide or be afraid to show our pride in our alma maters. Absolutely as employees we should have pride in the institutions we work at, and I do. But I also have pride and identify with my alma mater and celebrating it a couple days out of the school year shouldn’t be discouraged. On the flip side, we should also not shame or ridicule others for the way their choose to identify and show their school pride.
Its the very BASIC practice of social justice and diversity work.
Respect and understanding; foundations of social justice, inclusion and diversity work but ones we tend to forget when it comes to school pride.
Just food for thought as we enjoy College Colors Day and enter football season 2016.
Until next time,
Peace, Love and Pandas!