One thing about college: it is a diverse place. When I stepped onto a college campus for the first time in years, it was a big surprise to find that my instructor was a female African American with a Ph.D. I was a female, white, lowly freshman. Maybe that doesn’t sound too weird yet, but we were the same age and had both grown up in the south during segregation. That’s where our similarities ended.
My schools got the brand new textbooks; hers got our old, worn out ones. When I went to the doctor, I entered the medical clinic through the front door and sat in a large, cheerful waiting room. African Americans walked down a narrow sidewalk and entered through the back door. I never saw their waiting room and I noticed that I never once saw an African American in the hallways, walking to the exam rooms.
There was a lovely park where my friends and I played. We had a brand new silver water fountain. The fountain for African Americans was brown and looked like it had been hit with a baseball bat.
When I took the Greyhound bus to visit my grandparents, I sat in the front of the bus, except when there were no available seats. There was a bright yellow line on the floor, about 2/3 of the way back. We knew who sat there, next to the bathroom. Every time the bathroom door was opened, the scent of …well, you know what, permeated the bus.
I’m glad things are different now. These days, many different folks are on the college campus. You will run into folks who agree with you and people who argue with you. Discussion is healthy. Keep that in mind and let others have their say in turn. Respect is the key. Enjoy the diverse perspectives others share. Don’t be threatened by it.