Part of succeeding as a college student is growing as an adult and becoming mature enough to accept people who are not like you. Tolerance and acceptance means we give people the freedom to be their own unique selves without casting judgment or putting our map upon them.
Keep an open mind and be willing to challenge any stereotype you may have developed by reason of your parental upbringing.
If we are honest with ourselves, we can find levels of conditioning and brainwashing from society and even within our own family (perhaps unknowingly), where we improperly and erroneously began to believe an idea without first testing its validity.
I know when I began to help out my youth Pastor by providing a young African American a ride to church, my grandmother got a bit nervous. Me being the controversial and confrontational type, I humorously challenged my Nana’s racial fears and stereotype by saying: “What? You don’t like black people? Maybe I will marry a black woman.”
My grandmother did not like that, but it was sufficient for the racial undertones and biases to stop. Thereafter it was smooth sailing because I confronted my grandmother’s fear head on.
Often times stereotypes and racial bias is nothing more than a snap judgment derived from hidden fears about a race someone usually knows very little about.
Granted we all have bad experiences with people of all races, but that should not be reason to discard the entire race and ethnicity.
Truly there are brilliant and delightful people of every race on earth from whom we can learn things and happily enjoy life together. My world travels to over 50 countries and 6 continents has certainly proven and taught me this.
Go eat lunch with somebody of another race or cultural ethnic group. Be wise enough to realize that many wonderful contributions have come from people of all races. To deny yourself such meaningful interaction only shortcircuits and disconnects you from your full potential.
Rather than being fearful and getting labeled a hater, be a heartfelt helper to bridge the racial divide on your campus and happily bring people harmoniously together.
www.PaulFDavis.com worlwide speaker and author of “Diversity, Multiculturalism & Global Awareness”
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