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Does Prejudice still exist?

 Eastern is unique among Christian liberal arts universities because of its culturally diverse student body, so hearing about present day racial discrimination is shocking to me sometimes. How do attitudes of prejudice still exist?

I’ve been wondering: Is racism still a prevalent issue? Is this campus a safe haven, free of prejudice, or are the minorities living on campus desensitized to racial discrimination?

Robyn Holt, a junior African American student, told me about her friends during her first year at Eastern. Her Caucasian friends would joke about the way African American people speak, and say things like, “all black people can dance,” or “they all eat fried food.”

“I’ve never felt like people hated me because I’m black,” Holt said. “It’s a level of misunderstanding–people group us all together.”

Are we all guilty of having a “they” do this or “they” do that mindset? I think, or I used to think before writing this article, that all black people can dance.

My roommate, Latasha Johnson, is an African American senior who strongly believes that “all white people are risk-takers” and they “play too much.”

We are good friends but it’s obvious that our beliefs about one another’s ethnicities are very wrong. Could these stereotypes be a brick wall in friendships like ours? I hope not.

Sophomore Christine Babu, whose family is from India, sees open-mindedness at Eastern. “People here are more interested in hearing about my culture,” Babu said. “In high school they lumped me together with other people of my ethnic background.”

Perhaps Babu’s American accent has prevented her from being discriminated against. She noted that her mother was treated poorly on some occasions because of her Indian accent. This scared me. Am I guilty of that? Treating people differently because their English sounds different than mine?

When I talked to Chang Oh from South Korea, I felt a little better. He has lived in the United States for three years and does not speak English as well as his classmates in the nursing program.

“Everyone has treated me very good, I think,” Oh said. “They help me a lot because they know I have a disability with my English.”

While he is treated differently, Oh is treated well. That gets me excited about the community I live in. Eastern is certainly not the Kingdom fully come, but INST 150, justice classes and seminars and time spent with the YACHT club and the Philadelphia House of Corrections have been good for something.

While there is racial discrimination, there are many things of which people have prejudice attitudes.

I, as well as many of my friends, have been looked down on for being a woman. At my home church, a particular man in leadership truly believes that women are of lesser value than men and always reminds me that, if it was up to him, I wouldn’t be in a position of leadership at the church.

Why? Because I’m putting my future family into debt by going to college and I dream of having a career before having children.

Another student I talked to said, “I’ve had a lot of people disregard my opinion because I’m a Christian.” This happens frequently. I can’t even begin to count the times my friends from home have told me that my opinion on a certain subject is invalid because I get my ideas from the Bible.

Some people are pushed around because they are young, others because they are physically disabled. The list goes on and on, but I rest in the words of Jesus Christ: “All men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

 

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