CAMD: A Relic of the Past

When Mr. Edwards told the student body that we “probably have no idea what segregation is like,” I felt a soaking sense of irony. As the director of the office of Community and Multicultural Development (CAMD), Mr. Edwards should know firsthand the presence of segregation at Phillips Academy. As a place where “any member” of the community can feel at home and where “multiculturalism” thirves, CAMD should be a safe haven for all races – the most integrated sanctuary at the Academy. However, I have found this not to be the case. The heart of the segregation problem, in relation to CAMD, is not the office itself, but the culture of a school like Andover, an institution often caught up in public image and business relations. When it was created, CAMD was probably intended to give minority students, who might have felt segregated at that time, a place to feel welcome. However, maybe the success of an office such as CAMD is eventually its own demise. There is a point when the need for a safe, racial haven no longer exists, a point when CAMD is no longer necessary. The only logical question left is, “Are we there yet?” If Phillips Academy has reached a time of no segregation and no racial prejudice, then the answer is “Yes.” And, with CAMD redefining the term “multiculturalism” to mean only “American racial minorities,” we are a long way from having an office that promotes true diversity. But perhaps our community, without CAMD’s leadership, is ready to move past the need to provide safe havens for minorities. The Academy claims that diversity is multiculturalism, but the fact that we boast a student body with 30 percent students of color – defined as Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and Latinos – does not mean that we are multicultural. To be multicultural in the richest sense of the word, Phillips Academy must be completely integrated, have compassion and understanding for all cultures, and practice alienation against none. The problem with CAMD is that instead of integrating the community, it isolates the 30 percent minority by running an office where only colored students feel welcome. Essentially, CAMD magnifies the problem and inadvertently hinders community-integration while attempting to address the race issue. The need for safe, racial havens is a thing of the past. At Andover, students do not look at one another and say, “Wow, he’s black,” or “Look at him, he’s Asian.” In fact, the only one making the distinction between races is CAMD itself, which stirrs up issues that are no longer prominent. Although a safe haven for segregated minorities is often a great thing and a necessity, Andover students do not feel segregated. And, if they do, it is because of people who make the distinction between races. Since CAMD represents only those minority students at Phillips, it separates the minority group of students and intrinsically catalyses segregation. While the true problem behind CAMD lies in the politically correct culture of a private school like Phillips Academy, the effects of an office as CAMD are that certain students are alienated and separated from the majority, creating the segregation that CAMD was created to combat. We are, without CAMD, at a point where people are racially sensitive and a need for CAMD no longer exists. In fact, it has accomplished its mandate: to reach a point where a place such as CAMD that alienates minorities serves no purpose but to prolong Andover’s nearly complete struggle to end segregation within the student body.