I am a minority. Not only am I left-handed and red-haired, but I am also a Christian conservative on a college campus. Do you know what that’s like? It’s like being Madonna in a monastery.
Every year seems to have a special buzzword. In 2003, it was “Crocs.” In 2012, it was “gluten.” Now, it’s “diversity,” and you have to say it with a little sparkle in your voice. I love the real definition of diversity of a variety or discrepancy. However, I despise, I mean seriously don’t like, what the new definition of the word is developing into. As a disclaimer, my graduation speech was about how we’re all like a box of crayons, OK? I’m fruity.
What I mean by this new definition, though, is that the word “diversity” is becoming a blanket of hypersensitivity over select issues and groups. But I guess you’ve got to know people to get on the list, because not all minorities are on it. Mine isn’t.
I’ve never seen a diversity poster or presentation in which a person or text said, “No matter if a person is white, conservative or Christian … ” That just doesn’t happen, and honestly that’s how I like it. It doesn’t make sense to me why anyone would be OK with this buzzword that makes it seem like their demographic is asking for sympathy.
I go to class, and if I have the balls I may bring it up in discussion that I’m a Christian. At that point, I’m stripped naked and everyone is staring at me. I’m the freak. You love … Jesus? Or I’m tagged as a hypocritical, homophobic, anti-social, judgmental traditionalist that doesn’t understand basic science and how the “real world” works.
Scenario 2: Let’s say I’m in a class discussion and I announce that I’ve voted for a Republican. Once again, it’s like I just carelessly cut the cheese and everyone smells it. At this point, most people assume I run a puppy mill, steal from old ladies and selfishly smoke Cuban cigars in my multimillion dollar condominium. I’m the target, all because I don’t believe in socialized medicine and support fiscal responsibility and freedom.
Once again, I like it this way. I’m fully aware that when I pick a side, I’m going to get backlash from the opposition, and that’s how we should all think. Now, we’re not perfect. Sometimes I wish I had a diversity poster or sympathy cry to throw at people when I’m unreasonably called a hateful racist when I say things like, “Virtually every victim of the knockout game has been white.” Then I think, “That will make me seem weak.”
We must stand up for what we believe in, and be ready for stones to be thrown. Haters only make us stronger, right? I hate myself for just saying that.
But all in all, being proud, not defensive, of who you are is the key.
As a Christian, when I’m being falsely accused or feel like I’m battling alone I remember that Jesus said that Christians would be hated just as He was hated. I’m proud of this. I don’t need a poster to say so; I can say it better with my own voice.
Likewise, when someone tries to force feed me some white guilt, I stand tall and say “I’m proud my ancestors hopped on a boat to America when they ran out of potatoes. I think that’s super cool. I like my freckles, thanks.”
If I’m being jumped by a classroom full of liberals, I just think, “They’re just mad their health care website can’t function properly. They haven’t read the Constitution, they don’t know. If anything happens, at least I’m a part of the armed party.”
College is the place where my mom learned to civilly debate about cultural differences. College is now the place where I am learning to civilly sensitize myself to the appropriate people. Don’t let someone else make you seem like you’re less than what you are. Be a strong little Crayola crayon.
Laura Meyers is a freshman in journalism and political science. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.