Unity often seems like a simple concept. After all, isn’t it simply about bringing people together into a singular whole? It’s an easy way to approach the issue. However, the University of Virginia went from teaching lessons to learn about the complexities of multicultural environments. The University recently launched a Multicultural Student Center in the hopes of fostering unity. But a viral video has brought a lot of the school’s assumptions into question. An African-American woman, presumably a student at the University, recorded herself taking a tour of the new facilities. Saying that she came away unimpressed would be an understatement. In fact, her chiding statements would soon draw applause from unseen individuals watching her speak.

The unnamed individual began her statement with a simple declaration. She stated her succinct point by stating “Public service announcement. If y’all didn’t know, this is the MSC, and, frankly, there’s just too many white people in here”. The student went on to go into a little more depth about the nature of her reaction. At first glance, it might seem like she was taking a more controlling stance about an environment meant for everyone. However, she puts special emphasis on the fact that the area is in large part meant for people of color. The multicultural center is supposed to bring people together who have a different cultural experience than the average person on campus. She points out that the number of white people in the area was making her uncomfortable. This is presumably due to the fact that a multicultural environment gave her an assumption of diversity. Instead, the young woman found herself faced with the same, generally white, student body that she saw outside of the center. She continued to explain that point by drawing attention to the fact that there’s an entire university for white students. The student then goes on to put special emphasis on the fact that this was supposed to be one of the few areas specifically for people of color. It was at that point in the video that clapping could be heard in the area. Presumably, people in the area were impressed by the passion in her statement.

The video was uploaded in the spirit of a public service announcement. At the moment little information has been forthcoming about the specifics of the video. The fact that the woman in the video remains unknown has guided the nature of people’s reactions. Instead of a discussion with a single person, people have been broadening the discussion in a variety of different ways. This may well be one of the reasons why it’s reached so many people in so many different environments. For example, Republican Congressman Chip Roy encountered the video and offered his own take on the situation. The fact that a congressman from Texas encountered a local issue from Virginia speaks to the importance of its subject matter. Roy commented that multicultural centers cause race-based thinking and segregation. A spokesman from the University of Virginia has stepped forward to emphasize that segregation was never the purpose of the new student center. In doing so he points out one of the more difficult aspects of unity. He states that they’re trying to create a space that is both diverse and inclusive. As the school is discovering, it’s not always easy to create that balance.