Saturday, August 13, 2011

I am the Multicultural man now!

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines the word multicultural as: "of, relating to, reflecting, or adapted to diverse cultures." I think I am becoming multicultural according to this definition. I have been really relating with diverse cultures. Me and my Black roommate get along great. We are talking about rooming together for the next couple of years. we are thinking about renting a house somewhere on campus. It is really expensive living in the dorms, and we think we would fair better renting a house. The people in the New Beginnings Christian group I am participating with are a very diverse bunch. I have a chance to talk with many different cultures participating in that group. I especially like learning some of the Chinese culture from the two Chinese guys in the group. The Black guys and gals in the group treat me like a brother, and I really appreciate the friendship that have given me. Guess what else has happened? Me and the gay guy from the Business/Marketing group are getting along great. I have learned to respect him being gay, and realize that I have my own life to live. I realize that our relationship has nothing to do with sex or sexual orientation. There are many people, who happen to be homosexual, and are getting their educations as well. They have the same right to an education as I do, and I think that I better get used to their presence on the college campus. Their presence on campus doesn't change the fact that I am a heterosexual male and will always be. Besides, he helped the group all understand the Business/Marketing jargon, and I believe that I have achieved an A grade for the course. Gay people are OK with me. I have really been dreading going back home. I have changed so much in this one short semester. I don't want to hear my dad and uncles talking about other people so negatively. I hope to convince them to let go of some of the negative stereotypes they hold and perpetuate. I will tell them of all the people I met in Akron, and how diverse the university campus is. I will tell them that I am a new and improved multicultural kind of guy. I'm gonna tell them that I don't want to hear the negative stuff anymore. I am sure they will have a fit. I will try to have fun upsetting them. I will get to see my mom and my brothers and sister. I will get to see my friends. What I cant wait for the most is to put on my boots, my ten gallon hat, and take my beautiful horse Brown for a ride. Yeehaw!

Multicultural definition retrieved 8-11-11 from Merriam Webster Online Dictionary.

New beginnings. For real this time.

So I went to the New Beginnings meeting for the fourth consecutive week, and we really talked about some interesting subjects tonight. I decided I was going to talk with the group about the problem I was having with the homosexual being in my Business/Marketing group. I told them that it really bothered me just to be in the guys presence. I told them how my preacher back home used to speak out against homosexuality in his sermons on a regular basis. The meeting was going so well that we even discussed my situation with my dad. The first thing they told me was that I needed to do was to let the Lord be the judge of people, and the importance of me building my own personal relationship with the God. They thought that I was being overly concerned with the guys sexual orientation, and reminded me that the purpose of me being in the group was to enhance my learning of Business and Marketing. They also told me that no man is perfect, and that we all are inherently sinners in need of being born again. That discussion really made me think. It made me think of some of the bad things I have done, and about some of the evil thoughts that pass through my mind occasionally throughout the day, and I realized that I do need the God and his word. I do need to worry about my own relationship with God and stop being so judgemental towards others. That's when I told them how prejudice my father is back home. They prayed for me and my father to learn to be more multicultural in our opinions. They also prayed for the relationship between my father and I to be strengthened. I really appreciated the love that they showed me at the meeting. I feel really grateful to God that he has finally given me friends that I can talk to right here on campus. I am going to do some research on this multicultural Idea. I never really heard of anything like that. I am meeting all kinds of different people; people that come from many different diverse backgrounds than I. I will try not to judge anyone so harshly anymore. I really hate being prejudice like my father and his brothers. My mother was always right. She told me there are bad people from every race and ethnicity. She would say that not all people are bad. There are bad people, and there are good people; that goes for black people, native Americans, or any other race/ethnicity of people. The people at New Beginnings are from a various group of cultures and ethnicities. They all seem like very nice people to me. I really believe that color doesn't matter. This sexual orientation thing is still a difficult subject for me to handle, but I am willing to try to be non judgemental toward the homosexual guy at the group meeting next week. I will keep you posted.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I am not that diverse?

 Remember I told you about the group that me and my classmates put together to focus on Business and Marketing. Well there is a gay guy in the group. I don't think I have ever been in the same room with a homosexual before. He is very open about his sexuality and this really bothers me. He has never come on to me or anything, but I just don't like being around him. There is just one problem with having dislike: he is a dynamo at this business/ marketing stuff and he has become the unofficial leader of the group. I am thinking about leaving the group because homosexuality is against my religion. The preacher back home used to give some heavy fire and brimstone sermons really condemning homosexuality. I don't know what to do. I don't think I will quit quite yet, but I think I will present my dilemma at the New Beginnings meeting and see what they think about this. Now that I think about it, maybe I am not that diverse. I thought I was getting used to associating with different types of people, but this is just too much. Isn't it? I really am trying to get an A in the course, and this guy has all of the answers to the test. I might have to work with this guy after all. Oh well, I will ask the group tomorrow. My mom asked my dad for more money for my project and that didn't go over to well. He said that he wanted to talk me so I can tell him what I need the money for. I think I am going to have to get a job because my dad and I are at odds, besides, I don't want to ask him for anything right now. I think I will call him tonight and see what he is talking about. Anyway, my roommates patterns have begin to improve. I guess it is because it is the end of the semester and final exams are coming up. He has started to get on my nerves with all of that noise he makes practicing his trumpet. He doesn't bother me that much because he is very good. He just practices Hip-Hop songs though; and I don't like Hip-Hop music. I wish he would play some Willie Nelson, Charlie Pride, or my favorite Billy Ray Cyrus. I guess everybody is different. My roommate isn't bad, but my neighbors are terrible. They play some of the nastiest rap music I have heard in my life. I like Jay-Z and Biggie but that's it; and I don't like them that much. I like Lil John. Yeah! Oooooookaaaaaay! I don't tell my friends back home though. They only listen to the country classics. They would laugh if they knew I like some rap. I sure miss it back home. I think I will go home for Christmas break. That sound great! Anyway, I better start studying for my final exams also. I cant wait to go to the new beginnings meeting tomorrow. I will keep you posted.

Perhaps our subject is in the Denial stage of Bennetts (1986) Development of Intercultural Sensitivity Model (as cited in Koomvies, Woodward, and Associates, 2003). The denial stage "occurs when there is a physical and/or social isolation that prohibits any contact with significant cultural differences. The individual remains in complete ethnocentrism, where his or her own world view is unchallenged and is central to all reality. (p 428)" Maybe our subject isn't as separated from different others (homosexuals) as this model suggests, but I think the students at New Beginnings will tell him that his prejudice view is wrong to a certain extent. I will keep you posted on that also.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

New beginnings

I went to the Christian group meeting this Thursday and it was great. The group is called New Beginnings and is full of many different people. I met Black, White, Indian, and there was even one Chinese girl at the meeting. We all introduced ourselves and it was amazing how similar some of our journeys were. Many of the students in the group felt out of place on campus. Most of the people in the group found themselves in a very different place from the homes they had grown up. They all sought the strength of God to get them through their struggles. My dad would say that all black people were Muslim, but this group was predominately Black. They all read the bible very well, and believed in the lord with all of their hearts. I am realizing that my dad and his brothers were wrong about Black people. These Black people were good people in my opinion, and they all were going to college studying different majors. I cant believe that my father is so racist. I am glad my mom always tried to tell us different. I am glad that I am meeting so many different types of people. I am starting to appreciate going to a university filled with so much diversity. I even like my Indian professor now. I can understand most of what he is saying now. He even took some extra time after class to talk about some of the frustrations he noticed me having. I am doing so much better in his class now. I think I am at about a B+ for a grade now. That's not bad! I am shooting for the A still. I finally got up the nerve to tell my dad about my Black roommate, and just as I expected he got upset. I told him not to worry about anything and that my roommate was cool, but he yelled some really nasty things about Blacks over the phone. He said he is upset that I didn't tell him much earlier. He said he would have had housing change my roommate immediately. I told him that my roommate was just fine and that he has been a good influence on me. He called me stupid for not telling him sooner. I cant believe he called me stupid. Now I am really upset with my dad for the first time in my life. How could he feel this way about my friend. A friend who gave me the cloths and shoes off of his back. The guy who led me to this great Christian group where I am free to praise the lord how I please. Dad said I am stupid, but I think his prejudice is really stupid.  This fallout came at a really bad time because I need to ask my dad for more money. I need him to wire me more cash to pay for a group project that my classmates expect me to buy the supplies for. Plus, it is very expensive living in the big city. I know what I will do! I will ask my mother to ask him for me because I really don't want to talk to him. This makes me sad because I love my dad, and we never had a disagreement before. I always went along with whatever he wanted. I hope we can get past this. I will keep you posted!

Diversity is defined by Koomvies, Woodward and Associates (2003) as  "a structure that includes the tangible presence of individuals representing a variety of different attributes and characteristics, including culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and other physical and social variables." The subject here is facing diversity in a very real way. He is even learning to accept the differences and the similarities he has with people from different ethnicity as he.

I believe that the subject of this blog could be in the second stage of Pedersen's Multicultural Development model (Koomvies, Woodward and Associates, 2003). Pedersen's second stage is Knowledge and reads as follows: "At this stage and individual acquires information or comprehension of different cultures and cultural beliefs. This represents the integration of cognition and beliefs (p 429)."

I really miss my family and friends

Things have been going fairly well for me over the last couple of weeks. I went shopping and bought a new wardrobe filled with Akron athletics gear. I think I look silly, especially since I haven't play sports a day in my life. I'm so used to wearing my jeans, my boots, and my hat. Really had to change my whole style coming to Akron. As a matter of fact, I really miss it back home.  I wonder how my dogs and my other animals are doing back on the farm. I miss my horse that I used to take care of the most. I cant wait to get back home and take Brown for a ride. He was my friend and my transportation back home. I don't have any transportation here in Akron. My roommate just bought himself a car, so I hardly see him anymore. I hope he is doing alright with his studies because he seems to really be distracted. I offered to give him money for the cloths and shoes that he gave me and he got really offended. He said he gave me those cloths, and that he didn't expect anything back. I thought that was weird because back home we always trade or barter with each other rather than just share. I do think it was kind of him to give me those cloths and shoes like he did. I just hope I can find away to pay him back. Anyway, I talked to my mom yesterday and she said I don't have anything to worry about. She said they are getting along just fine without me. She said my little brothers are picking up my slack on the farm. She said my dad is so proud of me. She said I am all he talks about. He tells everyone that his son is going to college in the big city majoring in business. If he knew how bad I was doing in the one business class I do have it would disappoint him I am sure. I am barley holding on in the class. It is really hard. I am trying to understand the professor more, and those study sessions are helping out alot. I cant understand why I am still struggling though. I think I should have dropped the class. I didn't tell my mother of my struggles when I talked to her. I didn't want to worry her and my dad. Anyway, I miss home, I miss my friends, and I think I hate Akron. I really missed going to church, so this past Sunday I tried going to this church with a girl I met in class. She said she really liked the Chapel and that it is a good place for students to go. I don't really like the church I must admit. We had a very small protestant church where I come from. We get all dressed up in our Sundays best and have fun praising the lord. I mean we really get into our praise. At the chapel they are very conservative. The people don't really praise the Lord like we do back home. They are very quiet and reserved in their praise. Its funny, I thought my roommate was going out and partying every night. I asked him how things were going with school and he said "great." He told me that he had been meeting with a group of Christians on campus. He thought I should come and study the word with them. My roommate surprises me more everyday. My dad always says that Black people are all Muslim. I was really surprised that my roommate believed in Christ Jesus. I am thinking about checking this group out. They are non-denominational, so any denomination can participate. I think it is great that Akron has such a group available for Christians. They are meeting this Thursday. I seriously may go! I haven't been able to relate with many people on campus. Nobody is like my friends back home. I miss them. I will keep you posted.

I cant understand you Dr. Mahapatra

I was not looking forward to going to class today. I hoped everyone didn't treat me like they did yesterday. They made me feel really isolated and insecure with my appearance. I decided that I would try out the Akron jogging suit and tennis shoes my roommate gave me today. Everything was surprisingly a perfect fit. I even bought an Akron t-shirt from the campus bookstore last night. They have all sorts of Akron University clothing at the campus bookstore. I may have to use some of my clothing allowance to buy more Akron gear if this outfit works out for me. So I walked out of the dorm room expecting jeers from all of my peers, but nobody even noticed me this time. I walked up exchange again today, but the people didn't laugh at me like they did yesterday. This sure does feel better. I can go to and from class in peace if I dress like the natives do. I think I will be getting a new wardrobe this week. I don't like how the tennis shoes feel, but if this is what it takes for me to get along with folks then I am all for it. Someone even complimented the shoes today in class. He said that he was looking for the same pair of Nikes, but that he couldn't find them anywhere. He said they were exclusive. I feel really cool now. Anyway, I am having trouble with my business and marketing class already. It is not that I cant understand the readings or anything, but it is the professor that is frustrating me. He is from India and I cant understand one word that is coming out of his mouth. I raised my hand several times in class today and asked for some clarification on what he was saying. After about the third time, the professor actually started to ignore me. This really pissed me off. I cant understand how this guy made it to be an American professor, a doctor beyond that, but he cant even speak the language correctly. I don't know what to do. Should I try to drop his course and pick up another, or should I stay and try to tough this one out like everyone else in the class? I can understand a little of what he is saying, but not much. I think I will have to stick this one out. We will see how I am doing at the midway point of the semester. I talked with a few of my classmates and we decided that we would have study sessions together once a week on Wednesdays. Maybe that will help me to keep up with this class; that and the syllabus. I cant mess this up because my father would kill me. He is spending alot of money to send me to college. The other class I went to today is going to be great. I really like the professor. The class is Basic Math II and I am sort of a whiz at math. I think I will get an A in this course. I already have homework and it is just the first day. She explains everything in so much detail. She is White and I can understand her just perfectly. I have one more new class tomorrow. I hope the professor is an American. English Comp I will be difficult if I cant understand the professor. I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What is so funny?

What a tough weekend I just had. Got new living quarters, found out I would be sharing them with a Black man, and met my cool Black roommate all in one weekend.  Well, it was finally the first day of class and I was so excited. I got up early and ironed the jeans and shirt that I was going to wear. My blazer jacket was hanging up and was cleaned, pressed, and ready to go. I shined up my belt buckle all night long until I could see my reflection in it. I polished up my brand new cowboy boots last night, and my 10 gallon hat was sitting sturdy on my hat rack. When I got myself dressed and ready to go, my roommate woke up and broke out into a very boisterous laugh. I asked him what he thought was so funny and he said "them boots, that hat, and this big ass belt buckle." He actually reached out and touched my belt buckle. So much for his nice Black guy routine. I started to get upset, but then I realized how good I looked, so I ignored him, put on my jacket, and left for my first day of class. When I got out in the hallway of the dorm rooms people were staring at me and giggling, but I ignored them and kept on my way. I was walking down the street past the McDonald's on exchange and carloads of people were yelling and laughing at me. They were blowing their horns and saying "heehaw" which I thought was funny but obnoxious. On campus nobody was dressed like me. Everyone had on jogging suits, t-shirts, and flip flop shoes. I thought they looked silly because guys don't wear flip flops where I come from. You don't want get bit by a snake on your foot while your working the land. Boots are the shoes for men back home. I would have worn my spurs but I thought that might be a bit much for the big city folks of Akron,Ohio. Anyway, everywhere I went today people were pointing and laughing. I seen one pretty young lady in the student union sitting by herself at a table. She was looking at me and laughing. I asked her what she thought was so funny. She asked me if Akron was having a rodeo to welcome students this year. I asked her what she meant. She said that my costume was really nice and that I looked like a real cowboy. I smiled and told her that this was no costume and that I was a real cowboy. She laughed really hard and got up and walked away from me. I was so embarrassed. I thought, "I wont be dressing up for class like this anymore if this is what I will have to deal with." After class, and all of the humiliation I faced today, I was really exhausted and hurt. I got back home and my roommate was there. I asked him what was wrong with how I dressed because he and everyone else seemed to laugh at me today. He said that people don't dress like cowboys in the city. He said I needed to relax and dress more casual when going out. Then he gave me one of his many Akron jogging suits and some brand new tennis shoes and told me wear them the next day. He also apologize for laughing at me this morning. Maybe he is nice after all. Anyway, I think I might try the Akron outfit out tomorrow because I didn't like the negative attention I got for wearing my dress cloths. Also, I have other things to worry about. My professor was from India and I couldn't understand a word he was saying today. I need to be focused in class and not worried about who's laughing at the way I look. I still think I looked very good in my sundays best. I will keep you posted.