Diverisity and Respect Team up to Stop Bullying and Racism

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.


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