A look below the surface

Beth Rankin

There are some students who don’t believe prejudice still exists on this campus.

It’s easy to believe, at first, walking through the Student Center and seeing evidence – in the form of fliers, display cases, tables of student organizations greeting passersby – of a multicultural presence at Kent State. It is easy for us to think the guy sitting next to us in Seven Ideas is staring at the Egyptian girl across the room because he’s working up the nerve to ask her out to dinner at the Pufferbelly. It is not so easy to believe he is staring because he’s looking for any reason to report her to Homeland Security.

With as many people as I’ve gotten to know in my half-decade here, I’m inclined to believe the latter is far less common.

But that doesn’t mean we are exempt from the prejudice the rest of the world sees daily.

Just after Black United Students and I hosted a forum on diversity last week, fellow Stater columnist Adam Griffiths came to me with an idea.

To finish out our “Changing Face of Prejudice” series, we’re going to fill the Forum page with your words and experiences. We want to hear how prejudice has affected you since you’ve been here at Kent State.

We want to present the non-believers with first-person accounts of prejudice. We want to remove the rose-colored glasses and confront you with a problem you will no longer be able to deny.

For many of us, it will be a painful process of discovery. But it is a necessary first step.

After all, we need to know our enemy before we go to battle. And trust me: This is war.

In 2008, prejudice is unwarranted, unnecessary and unacceptable. Let’s meet the challenge head-on.

In 100 words or fewer, send us stories of prejudice as it has affected you personally, whether it was because of your race, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, handicap or appearance. We want to hear the untold stories of prejudice on this campus. Were you mistreated by a professor, a student, a friend? Tell us.

The only rule is that you must be willing to sign your name, year and major to the experience.

There is no room for anonymity anymore. It’s time to put a name and a face on this chameleon that quietly attacks our university’s integrity every day.

Send your stories in 100 words or fewer to [email protected] or [email protected]. Fax them to (330) 672-5064. Write “Changing Face of Prejudice” in the subject line.

It’s time we take the kid gloves off and attack this problem before it rips us apart at the seams.

Beth Rankin is a senior photojournalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].