ABAC is well known for its wonderful agriculture department, but that’s not all the school is about. I had a conversation with a fellow ABAC student recently who brought about a very negative view of the students of ABAC. This person classified ABAC as predominately “southern white heterosexual males.” This is displeasing to the ear. In fact, the female to male ratio of students this semester already proves this stereotype wrong.
As someone who doesn’t really fly below the radar very well, I have grown accustomed to weird looks from folks on campus. Whether it be for my Janis Joplin-esque sunglasses or my obnoxious fringe vest, stares are common. I feel that this is because of the lack of diversity on campus. Weird looks come from those who share the same opinion as the offensive fellow I met recently.
My faith was newly renewed the first day of classes as I saw some fresh faces with even fresher styles and opinions. But it was once again lost as I literally had someone whisper, point and laugh as I walked by on my way to class. This does not offend, actually it is met with pity because anyone who has enough time to waste on unnecessarily spreading negativity and gaining something positive from it obviously just hasn’t spent enough time out and about in the world. Why spread bad juju?
Just last Friday I once again encountered a group of individuals who were obviously not fans of my attire. It was in the evening when most students had already left campus, I was walking near the Bowen parking lot when a group of seven or so a good distance behind me began to yell in my direction. After an obvious "Hey," I turned to see what they wanted. They got very quiet and acted like it was not me they were referring to, so I carried on about my day. As I continued, they continued yelling, whistling (not in a flattering way I assure you) and just being rude. It was obvious that this group was getting some laughs simply because I was dressed very differently from them.
I held my tongue, of course, because I didn't think it was that big of a deal. Then I pondered on why these people would do this, why it happens so often and if it happens to me then it must happen to others. What if others aren't as strong minded and confident as I am and what if these closed minded taunts actually affect them worse? This is bullying and it is still happening in college.
I will no longer hold my tongue. By ignoring these people and carrying on with my awesome life, I am enabling them, letting them think what they do is acceptable. From now on I will stick up for myself and others when I see bullying. It is 2013. We think we are so advanced, but we can't even get along based on what type of clothes we wear.
When all you see is those who are like you and anything different is seen with a negative connotation, you risk becoming a sad, lonely and shallow individual. Open your eyes, mind and your heart and maybe you will like what you find. Bob Dylan says it best, “Don’t criticize what you can’t understand.”