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Being born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley we are not exposed to people of different ethnical backgrounds. We are enclosed in an environment where we are barely accepting of people of our own race. In my early years, I was never exposed to people of different ethnicity or culture. When integrated into such a diverse society I was uncertain of what to anticipate. I found that it was essential to accept and understand the cultures of peers and associates in order to live in such a setting.
Two years ago, I was accepted to attend Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Everything with regard to this university was new to me. It is the worlds largest Baptist University, made up of 90 percent whites and 10 percent minorities. This came as a significant worry to me. Never having met anyone of different race or culture all I knew was what I had seen on television and stereotypes I had picked up from my friends.
I could literally count the number of whites and blacks I had met up until that point in time on one hand. I felt as if I was going to enter a different world far from the one I had become so accustomed to. I can remember sitting around in an awkward anticipation wondering when my first interaction with someone from a different culture or color would occur.
To my dismay I found that I wasnt the person who had difficulty accepting where I was. It so happened that it was the other students in the school who felt that I did not belong.
My first day staying at the dorms is a day that I would never forget as long as I live. It was a day that changed my opinion of every race but mine. My roommate happened to be a Hispanic who didnt know a word of Spanish but that didnt seem to matter if he did or didnt. My dorm room was a small white box with a sink a closet and a dry erase board on the outside of the door.
I remember coming back to my room from a welcome session feeling I had made the right decision on what school to attend, only to find on my door a written message saying Go home Mexicans. I was appalled by what I saw, the next thing I know I had began knocking on the doors of every room in my hall demanding that someone tell me who had written that message that had outraged me so. Out the corner of my eye I saw a guy with a big smile on his face that happened to be white my judgment being clouded by anger I immediately swung my fist across his face knocking him to the floor. Instead of fighting back he stood up looked me in the eye and assured me it wasnt him who had written the message. Confused about how to handle the situation I went to my room and contemplate of a solution.
After days and weeks of profound thinking I found that it would be in my best interest to associate with people of my own race. I spent the majority of my first year like this, isolating myself as much as possible. I thought that I would continue on like this for the next four years. When I came home for Christmas vacation I spoke to my mom about school and she told me to get as much as I could from school cause it would be my last chance to be a kid and experience new things. I reflected on what my mom had said and decided to rush the most popular fraternity in school and was determined to make it. My pledge class brothers were of all types of races, but the majority we white. We were forced to band together and help one another get through pledging. Before we new it, we had become best of friends and the color and different culture just erased we were brothers and what was inside was that mattered.
I am unsure where I would be if I hadnt made the decision to give my school another chance. I have learned to respect other peoples culture and beliefs and it has made my experience in my school considerably better.
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