Final Project Post 4

While thinking about what I could do to make a difference, and looking at it through the idea of this class, I realized that by doing exactly what I’m doing, sharing my experiences through blog posts, I can make a difference.

By having conversations with future educators about the need for teaching tolerance and acceptance, I can make a difference. By speaking up when people are making “jokes” at the expense of others, I can make a difference. This semester, I have learned about the wide reach social media can have if it used effectively. What I am hoping to continue is using my media reach in order to promote tolerance, and I hope that my reach can impact people, even if it is only just one person who is able to reach just one more person, because that is how larger-scale change happens.

If everyone was to make small changes in order to promote acceptance, in the words of President John F. Kennedy, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try”. We have seen the effects of people joining together to make change, this is how many of the social movements we have studied have begun, and it is up to the people our age to start these social movements and make the changes we want to happen.

Final Project Post 3

Continuing on with my first two posts about teaching tolerance, I have been thinking about my time here at Kutztown, and even my experiences growing up. My family moved from a very diverse town to a town that had very little diversity along the Jersey Shore. You could essentially count on one hand, maybe two, the number of non-white students in my graduating class. We had 3 Asian students, 3 Black students, and a Pakistani girl, and that’s about all the diversity I can think of- and I was friends with all of them. Although there was very little diversity, there were never incidents of bullying or racism that occurred within my class during our high school experience.

Fast forward and now I’m in college in a very different area than I grew up in, I had never experienced the “rural life” and it was definitely culture shock when I first arrived. Horse and buggies aside, I quickly got used to having to drive a minimum of 20 minutes to reach anything, despite having grown up in an area where everything was within a 5 minute drive. I met a lot of people who were very similar to me, some people were also from Jersey, some were from the area but shared a lot of similar ideologies. I found the campus to be overall pretty liberal and accepting, but I believe that most colleges are.

The one thing I found very interesting about Kutztown University was overall acceptance of the LGBT community. I had made many friends who were either part of the LGBT community, or who were accepting of my being a part of the community at the very least. While the college students have are for the most part very accepting, I have found the people of the town of Kutztown as well as people from the surrounding area to be not so tolerant. When one of my friends asked if I would like to join her and her boyfriend (both from Berks County) to go to New York City for the day over winter break, I said, “Sure, Jenn (my girlfriend at the time) and I would love to” and my friend said back to me, “It would probably make my boyfriend uncomfortable if you were there as a couple” as if I was supposed to be okay with them being all over each other but not being allowed to spend my day with my own significant other to make sure he was comfortable.

I let the conversation go, I just said I would check my calendar and let them know, although I had already decided that I would not be able to make it. Aside from occasional stares and a few comments here and there, I did not have a lot of other negative experiences with the people of Kutztown or the students of the university.

Then disaster struck. Election 2016.

Tearing families and friendships apart. Half of the campus was mourning Bernie losing the democratic bid, a quarter was wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and screaming to “Impeach Hillary”, and the last quarter was sure that Hillary would win because there was no way Americans would actually be dumb enough to elect “The giant angry Cheeto” into office.

Following the results of the election, a series of White-nationalist posters were found on campus, and there has been a nation-wide resurgence of intolerance. What is this word coming to? How is it that there had been so much progress and suddenly people are openly hating one another?


Final Project Post 1

Today, as I sat in my 9:30am class, it struck me how much of an impact ignorance can have on a person or a group of people. This post is not looking to say that any person’s opinion is wrong, but instead to look at the impact that being aware (or not aware) can have on a person or a group of people, and pattern of ignorance is one that will continue to have  a resonating effect on people until people are willing to learn.

The lecture this morning in Political Science 227, International Conflict and Security, had to do with individual liberty and perceptions of freedom around the globe. One of the global issues we discussed focused on the current Refugee Crisis. Currently, there are millions of humans- because often that we forget that these atrocities are actually happening to people- who have left their home countries to seek asylum from dangerous conditions. With literally no other option other than staying and facing death, these people migrate to other countries that have not planned on letting in these huge numbers of people.

As we opened the discussion up to the class, I was left in disbelief as I listened to my peers talk about the situation in complete disregard for the lives of the millions of people whose lives were at risk. One student said, “I honestly don’t care about the humanitarian issue here, I blame the European countries for letting those people into their countries in the first place” as if these refugees were somehow a lesser class of people because of this.

Letting the initial comment go, the class began to discuss different possible alternatives to letting refugees into Europe. Another classmate said, “If The United States is so much more tolerant of different cultures, why don’t some of the refugees come here?” This comment was met with some very obvious dislike. A third student replied, “If those people want to come here then they should learn English and adopt American culture”. As I sat there, sinking further and further down into my chair, I realized that there are so many people who feel this same way.

The question we should be asking is not “how can I change one person’s mind?” because that is not often an easy feat to accomplish. Instead, the question we should be asking is “what can I do to help others to change the world?”