Randy Wright

 

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I don’t remember the question, the professor, or the class. I remember the university, the student, and his comment.

Good colleges or universities make us think. All colleges challenge us to think; the good ones make us do it. I once gave an answer in an English class about Mark Twain and Huck Finn and the students in the class applauded my answer. I began to think I was smart.

In another class, I gave what I knew was an astute answer to a question. I probably gave that serious smile that I have when I know I’m right, I’m proud, and I’m trying to look just a bit humble. I don’t remember the question, or the professor, or the class.

But I know this—a student who was sitting next to me elbowed me in the arm and laughed. “You’re so White,” he said.

“What?” I must have looked surprised.

“Only a White guy would give that answer.” The whole class was quiet while he answered the question from the perspective of someone who grew up Black and looked at the world through a different cultural experience and different circumstances.

I don’t remember the question, or the professor, or his answer. I remember, “You’re so White.”

From that day on, I became aware of how limited my experience in the world was and would always be if I didn’t listen to the viewpoints of others. I read more books about situations different from my own. I sought out people different in color, different in social standing, different in how they grew up, different in education, and…

Different, different, different. I learned that everyone belongs; everyone has a contribution to make.

It is impossible not to be who we are and be the sum of our background. But, it is very possible to listen, to observe, and to seek out different ways of thinking, living, solving, etc.

That is why the best colleges and universities make us think, and the best colleges do this by offering professors and students who bring to us diversity. Maybe that’s why the best country is the most diversified country. “America, you’re so colorful.”

Randy Wright

I’m Running for President Too may be purchased for $4.99

at Apple iBooks and Amazon Kindle.

Visit randywrightbooks.com for more information.