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How are whiteness, wealth and heterosexuality normalized at Boston College by students, faculty, and administrators. How could such normalization be challenged?
Boston College’s student population primarily consists of wealthy, Caucasian, heterosexual males and females. Anything outside of this description is considered out of the majority. One way in which whiteness is normalized by the administration of BC is the “AHANA” group, which consists of students of African- American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American descent. Although this is meant to be helpful to people of cultures other than Caucasian and to help minorities find common ground, it is essentially labeling minorities and placing them into a separate category from the rest of the student body. Caucasians are not given a special acronym or advantages upon entering the school, and I believe this AHANA label is counterproductive to its purpose. Cultural groups should be something optional, something that a student joins because they are interested and would like to explore their culture. In fact, many students that are labeled “AHANA” do not identify with their cultures at all and have grown up in wealthy suburban neighborhoods with mostly Caucasian peers. They then come to BC and are de-normalized by essentially being grouped and labeled by administration. Although this is not the intention, if BC genuinely sees minorities as normal and equal, this label does not need to be automatically be placed upon minority students entering the school.
Wealth is normalized at BC by its administration and students. The school has an extremely high tuition cost, lack of generous financial aid, legacy acceptances, and a religious/private affiliation. BC is a popular place to apply among Catholic high schools, which are most often optional and cost thousands of dollars per year. Therefore, the majority of students who apply to BC come from well off families who could afford a private, Catholic education. BC administration could work on cutting down on costs that are not absolutely necessary and offering more financial aid to deserving students, as well as rejecting students who are not. With such a large portion of wealthy students who are able to pay full tuition, it is no wonder that many students wear designer clothing items and accessories to class that make it visible that they have been able to pay the extra money. When a large portion of students are this way, it may make people who come from different socioeconomic levels feel inferior, when in fact it is because they are at an abnormally expensive university. Students could challenge this by not wearing clothing items which have large logos on them or designer patterns, but it is majorly up to the university administration to be more generous with financial aid and perhaps advertise it so that students who come from lower socioeconomic levels are not automatically discouraged from applying. In addition, simply wavering the large application fee of $70 would encourage less wealthy students to apply, as BC is a competitive school, and underprivileged students may feel like they do not have a great chance and that such a large fee is not worth the money.
BC administration normalizes heterosexuality due to its label as a religious school. Homosexuality goes against Catholicism, so it is likely that homosexual students will steer away from applying or attending a religious affiliated school due to feeling uncomfortable. If they would like to attract a more diverse body of students, they should drop their label as religious but still have the religious aspect available to students so that no student feels they should be a certain way. Although people of all religions are welcome and religion is not pushed upon students, the label as Jesuit narrows down on the type of students who apply: heterosexual, Caucasian, Catholics. Although the Jesuit ideals of education of the whole person are intended to be beneficial for everyone, it still tends to attract religious, conservative students who can pay the high price of a private college. There are still masses held for students, crosses in most classrooms, and a theology core required. One could challenge this by proposing the idea that if BC’s main goal is to produce successful students, they should solely label themselves an academic school with religious aspects available to all types of religions, as well as diversifying its groups and activities to homosexual students. Although dropping the religious affiliation is an extreme change and the student body has diversified over time, it is the basis of the student homogeneity issue. It is hard to find a private, Catholic college with a large number of students who are gay and non-Caucasian, particularly in a state such as Massachusetts. BC administration should realize that college is a place where people should be opened up

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