A lack of exposure to diversity may be the reason for ignorance

Sam Thomas and Morgan Rogers

Generalizations based on race and culture are often times what make people feel set apart from others. “It’s definitely teachers that don’t want to cross that line. They always want to use the correct terms. People throw around so many terms like “Asian American” or “east Asian.” I’m just Anne Kluis, you know,” said Kluis, “It’s hard to connect with people when right off the bat you’re an outsider. It’s hard to put yourself out there when you’re immediately the Asian girl.”

Criticism for differences is commonplace and often times comes form those who haven’t experienced being in the position of a minority. “I think it comes from the fact that they aren’t exposed to diversity. When you’re not actually involved with people that aren’t like you, they seem so foreign and okay to joke about,” said Kluis, “I think that having been through it, when I see other people get bullied or picked on because of their race I can really sympathize with them.”

Gerard Ondrey has also faced similar criticism for his ethnicity. “A few years ago there were a lot of cocaine jokes and stuff like that because I’m from Columbia. A lot of white people throw out jokes and they’ve become so used to the fact that people like me won’t find it offensive. They’ve become so accustomed to it that now they think it’s okay” said Ondrey, “it’s wrong how they consider making racist jokes the same as any other jokes and expect people to just brush it off.”

Self-awareness and pride are key components in changing the way that society looks at one another. “I’ve become really aware of growing up and learning that in different than everybody else it because I have parents that aren’t my own,” said Ondrey, “You need to learn to become more independent and willing to stand up for yourself and tolerate it. I take every opportunity I can to show how proud I am of my ethnicity.”