I have lived in the ritzy part of the Madison

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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I have lived in the ritzy part of the Madison area my entire life. We didn't cross the race line to often. I was always told to be civil and that everyone is different, but they still are nice people. Coming to college opened up a new world to me, a world where I confronted people of different ethnic and racial backgrounds on an everyday basis. I never thought that there would be an issue dealing with race within this community; I thought people wouldn't make a big deal about differences since it was a college town. It is not that I have never had any firsthand experience with discrimination though. When I got my roommate assignment and read the name Mbuyi Kadima, I then realized that I was going to be rooming with someone of a different race. I was so excited to learn more about someone else's culture, that I could not wait until the first time that I got to meet her.

The infamous moving day came and we instantly clicked and became the best of friends. The night of move in we decided to go get something to eat with some friends that she had already met. They came to our room and I was surprised to see that they were all black. They treated me so normal; they gave me a hug and asked my name. I felt so comfortable when I was with them. We stood in the hall and talked for thirty minutes, talking about everything from where we were from, to school, whom we thought was cute. After all the talking was finished, we decided to go eat at the Perkins down the street. As we walked in I could get the sense that people were talking about us. I figured that they were talking about a good-looking guy or girl in our group. We sat down and got our menus and decided what we were going to eat. As I put the menu down on the table I realized that there were three tables staring at me. I asked Mbuyi if I had something in my teeth cause I could not understand why they were looking at me. The concept finally hit me they were staring because I was sitting with all black people. For once a white person was a minority. I just did not seem to see it that way, because I still felt safe. I had to use the restroom, so I got up and proceeded to make my way there. As I was washing my hands some lady that came out of the middle stall asked me if I was crazy for sitting with the black people that I was with. I asked her if she knew something about them that I didn't. She said no, but they are black and they will get you into trouble. I said well until they do I'm going to hang out with them, and left the bathroom.

I was appalled that someone would be that forward to criticize my new friends. I had to keep myself from causing a scene, cause I didn't want to embarrass my friends or myself. I also didn't think that confronting her would help the situation, that I wouldn't be able to change her mind on how she views people who are different from her. I wish I were able to ignore the blatant prejudice, to push these racist people aside and continue on with my life. I would like to think that they could not change someone else's future or mine. But then again, I have never gone through this kind of treatment. These stereotypes have been set before us, someone has taught us to hate each other. Possibly these naive people have been exposed to these deceptions on television, in storybooks or perhaps in the movies, and the question is-can these stereotypes ever be weeded out? We are responsible for taking action to try and prevent further stereotypes from growing and to aid in the these stereotypes that have been molded into society in eventually fading them away.

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