Getting real about race: Senior creates documentary on campus diversity

Senior Anu Asabi-Caleb is spearheading a documentary revolving around racial reconciliation and trying to get students engaged in race dialogue and confronting racial issues at Belmont University.

“Being a Christian university, and myself being Christian, my biggest goal is for us to understand that if we are believers and we believe in a God who believes in a multicultural community, why don’t we as a Christian university embody that belief system?” said Asabi-Caleb. “Why doesn’t our campus look like a multicultural university? Why doesn’t our campus integrate different backgrounds?”

With this documentary, Asabi-Caleb hoped to create a multicultural atmosphere at Belmont University and challenge students to question their surroundings.

“A lot of people stay away from the topic of race because they don’t want to be deemed as a racist, which is totally natural,” said Asabi-Caleb. “However, we have to educate people on the term racism, because talking about racism doesn’t deem you as a racist. Having different opinions about racial issues doesn’t make you a racist.”

Coming from a diverse community in Houston, Asabi-Caleb was bothered by the lack of diversity on campus.

“I have a heart that really wants to integrate a university that is multicultural, and we don’t only want to do it for moral reasons but also because of our doctrine and our belief system,” said Asabi-Caleb.

Asabi-Caleb believes one of the reasons behind perpetual racism is ignorance and lack of education, so she hopes the documentary will be a source of education for students.

“The documentary is all about education not about being derogatory,” said Asabi-Caleb. “It’s coming from a non-bias point of view. It’s not about black or white. It’s about all people.”

Justin Lang, the president of Black Student Association, supported Asabi-Caleb’s documentary, and he also believed it to be necessary to create a space for minority students.

“We’re going to have minority students here. That’s just going to happen,” said Lang. “I think it’s important to take more steps to make students feel more welcome, feel more at home, feel safe.” Lang hopes the documentary will shift the dialogue to the minority students’ experiences in order to start a conversation about color-blind racism and post-racial issues.

The filming of the documentary will begin in spring 2016, and it will be tied with a convo led by Asabi-Caleb.

There will be a video campaign on Nov. 13 from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in WAC 5005. Asabi-Caleb encourages students to participate.

“We talk about diversity at Belmont, but we don’t really push forward as much as we should,” said Asabi-Caleb. “I just want to see a mixture of all cultures being represented at Belmont because it shows the Christian belief system, but it also shows our heart and what we’re about. We’re about all people from Belmont to anywhere, right?”

This article was written by Nina Kim.

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