One of the best parts about America’s universities in the post-Civil Rights era is the diversity that schools introduce to students while they are on campus.
Practically every university — well, except Bob Jones University — encourages students to learn about and partake in different cultures.
And the University of West Florida carries on this new tradition as well. Student organizations like the Gay-Straight Alliance advocate tolerance, and the Campus Activity Board promotes events that bring students together in a friendly, social environment.
With all that said, many people who attend schools like UWF still have a way to go, especially in this so called “post-racial” America.
Case in point: I was at a get-together with my co-rec flag football team when one of the guests asked me what my major was. I told her that I was a pre-law student, and she shot me an incredulous look and said, “No, you’re not!” – as if she found it hard to believe that a black man could be smart enough to study law.
Later in the conversation, the young woman said, “Freedom, you speak so well!” She made the statement as if I was a trained monkey who was taught how to speak!
The irony of her “speak so well” statement is that even though I can be articulate in a formal setting — not at a cook out — I’m still a southern boy who use phrases like “y’all”, “fixin’ to” and “you knowwha umsayin’”
Sometimes I think people forget that humans can be diverse in and of themselves and don’t always fit into stale, age-old stereotypes.
For instance, on campus I always hear, “Freedom, you’re the whitest black guy I know!” or “Hey, you should meet my other white black friend.”
Look, people, just because I don’t walk around campus with my pants below my butt, refer to my friends as “dog” and don’t have a chip on my shoulder does not mean I’m not black.
Being educated and listening to other forms of music besides rap does not make me white.
Not all black caricatures of our race are true, though I know Tyler Perry movies and Lil’ Wayne come across as the shining examples of how black people are.
Since I have everyone’s attention, I want to reiterate a point that I have made in the past: The n-word is never, ever, ever okay.
Just recently, I was at Hopjacks with some UWF students when one girl said “nigger” while referring to me in a conversation.
She seemed shock when I became upset. The young lady tried to justify her use of the word by exclaiming that, “My best friend is black!”
I explained that it doesn’t matter even if her president was black; the n-word is one of the ugliest words in the English language and should never be used.
There are people who took a lot of beatings to make sure that I — or anyone else for that matter — should never be called that word.
Because you go to a college does not mean you should hold hands with every race, creed or religion and sing “kumbaya,” but attending college should mean that you are willing to open your mind and shatter a lot of preconceived notions about people.
I hope I was able to properly articulate my point.