If you have ever felt oppressed to where your voice wasn’t being heard, or hurt by someone else for your race or ethnicity, then the multicultural center is a great opportunity for you to speak up against bullying. The Multicultural center, located in Old Main room 232, held a meeting designed for students to speak in front of an audience about their experiences with bullying and racism.
Yoel Yohannes, a Communication Arts Speech major from St. Paul, MN described his experiences by saying “I’ve been called the N word a lot and I had to stand up for myself against those who are disrespectful towards me.” One of the many experiences that has helped him here at UWS was joining clubs and being active in writing for The Stinger. Yoel also is a jazz DJ for KUWS radio and attributes many of the campus activities that he participates in towards helping boost self-confidence.
For a lot of students, homesickness remains a problem in which the environment they go to school at feels much different then what they were accustomed to throughout childhood experiences. Ashley Delaney, a student from Chicago, stated that “Diversity is a problem that can cause me to feel defensive. I’ve had a lot of negative experience in the dorms from hearing “slang term” stereotypes. Minorities don’t always get enough credit they deserve.” For Ashley, something as simple as shopping at Wal-Mart proved to be a challenge because of the way people looked at her differently. “Sometimes they would charge me extra and accuse me of shoplifting just for my skin color” she said. Ernesto Soto, a track and cross-country runner, shared his experiences by saying how he was crying in the dorm rooms alone and had a fear of talking to others for what they might perceive him as.
The students were asked by members of the audience on what effective strategies they can use towards against bullying and racism. Simona Simkins replied with a famous quote from Oprah Winfrey “Excellence is the best deterrent to racism.” When she spoke about her experiences, she said that she lets her haters be her motivators. Yoel responded by saying “I do not represent black people.” Although this got a positive reaction from the crowd, student Terra Brister was quick to respond by saying “I disagree. I represent my color. I may not fit the stereotype, but I am proud of who I am and where I came from.”
There are many different ways that individuals can fight against bullying and racism without having to resort to violence. One of the many different ways that was brought up by Ashley is to educate them through books and teach them the history of fighting through adversity to solve problems. Jason Williams, a student from eastern Illinois, commented by saying “I don’t even look at them as color (white or black). I look at them as individual people, male vs female.”
By attending these type of meetings and speaking out to one another, together we can speak up against dividing issues of racism in order to make the world a better, safer place to grow up and live in.