By Brandon Howick
Bathed in a blanket of white, Provo represents the ideal college town to many people this winter. One group of students wishes the white had a few more splashes of color.
This group, headed by Christopher Blakesley, formed a book club to promote understanding and acceptance of people of all races.
“I don”t think it would really come as a surprise to anyone to hear that BYU is not a hotbed of diversity,” Blakesley, a psychology major from Baton Rouge, La., said. “We live in a town and go to a school where the majority of the people look kind of the same and basically think the same. This is not necessarily healthy.”
Blakesley and a group of friends founded the club this past summer with the hope of accomplishing many of the things that all universities try to accomplish – promote critical thinking, constructive conversation and a better understanding of all things in life. They are not an official club on campus, but they feel they do not need to be one in order to accomplish their goals.
Club members said they feel it is too easy to go to school at BYU and glide through life without truly getting the quintessential college experience of having educated discussion and debate in a roundtable environment.
Every month the officers in the club meet and talk about what they think would be most beneficial to the club and then decide on what book to read. This month, in anticipation of Yolanda King”s (daughter of Martin Luther King) visit to Utah Valley State College, the club is reading Dr. Mervyn Warren”s book, “Martin Luther King Jr.: Still Preaching in 2002.”
“A club meeting usually involves a lot of deep things,” said James Price, a sophomore at UVSC. “I feel like it somehow makes me smarter to talk to other people about the world and some of the great people who”ve lived on it.”
The club focuses on books written by or about influential people of different cultures. Scott Douglas, an exercise science major from Roswell, Ga., said, “We feel that for the rest of our time here at BYU we focus mainly on the white-bread society we are a part of. It is exhilarating to read different opinions and viewpoints and helps make us more balanced.”
In the past, the club has read “Gandhi,” “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” and the “Talmud,” among other books.
The club”s unofficial credo, “Bridging the Gap of Ignorance,” is reflected in the progress the club”s members have made in understanding the world around them and the importance of seeing through multi-colored lenses.