Last Friday I was invited to attend a Rotary Club meeting in Racine, WI. It was fun meeting the members, and learning about their history and charitable projects. If asked to join I’ll probably accept for a start date in 2014. The weird thing about membership, though, will be attending weekly meetings in the Racine Country Club. A stereotype of country clubs is that members are a bunch of old White guys sitting around trying to keep women and racial minorities out. I was the only person of color present (in a group of about 40), and there were just two female members in attendance. There were a lot of younger men at the meeting, however, and I enjoyed the general vibe of the group.
I was also the only person of color in the room when the chancellor and provost took me to the Kenosha Country Club at the end of my first week on the job last month. As we rolled up I joked, “are you sure they are going to let me in this place? I grew up in the South, you know, so I need to check!” They responded that the university would not have a membership if there were any exclusionary practices. After a nice lunch they informed me that I could be added to the membership list.
So what do you think, readers: should I join one or both country clubs, knowing that I’ll be one of the few faces — and maybe the ONLY face — of diversity?