Give it up for International Week


Since International Week is quickly approaching, I feel compelled to shed some much-needed light on the topic.

Any anthropology class teaches us that the word “race” is improper, as African Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics and White Caucasians all belong to the human race, which, in biological terms, is called Homo sapiens. What does differ among people is their ethnicity and, of course, their nationality.

I am always stunned by what students write on their applications. If an application form asks you what nationality you are, it’s basically asking for your citizenship! Words like white, WASP or Caucasian are incorrect.

If it asks for your ethnicity, then it doesn’t matter whether you are a U.S. citizen, because it’s asking whether you are White, African-American, Hispanic and so forth. You can be an American citizen, and still be of Asian ethnicity. So writing American where it asks for your ethnicity is incorrect.

Students seem to be fairly confused about who is Hispanic or Latina/o and who is White Caucasian. International Students from Italy, France, Austria, Germany or any other European country other than Spain and Portugal are indeed White Caucasian. Even when the native language is a “Latin”-based language (or Romance language) that does not make them Latina/os. Someone born and raised in Italy, for example, is White Caucasian (not WASP, as that refers to White Anglo-Saxon Protestant).

I hope we are all appreciative of the fact that we share our campus with close to 2,000 international students from over 90 different countries, with India and China being the most represented.

Some International Students are simply here on an exchange program for one or two semesters only. Some may be here to improve their English through the ESL program. But most are here to pursue a full-length college degree. Let us all look forward to International Week as a way to celebrate and acknowledge the diversity of cultures, tongues and religions on our university campus.

Manny L. AntonacciSenior, Biology and Environmental StudiesStudy Abroad/International CenterUnion Board/ASUU