By Olutomi Odukoya
What a week we had leading up to my favorite holiday: Halloween. Personally, I love to dress up in costume and enjoy being a character of my own choosing. Unfortunately, several of my fellow students have taken the opportunity to remove their masks this week and let us know what they really think about me and my fellow minority students.
I just wanted to take a minute and explain to many of you why “bring[ing] out your bling, jerseys and inner thug” to a party is a problem.
First, it’s lame. The movie “Dear White People” (for which I was provided free passes from SMU to see last year) already addressed how tacky, distasteful and violent-provoking such a party can be. You don’t have to like everyone on this campus, but you have no right to humiliate anyone.
Second, who even wears jerseys on a regular basis anymore? It’s 2015. How many students have you seen with a gold grill or exorbitant gold chains on campus? We all dress how we like. You can’t dress, talk or act “black.” The concept does not exist. And why would you even want to? Be who you are. And if that is not enough, take a long look in the mirror and fix yourself.
Lastly, for those of you who even made it this far in the article, how many “thugs” do you see on this campus? Absolutely none! Everyone is here to get an education and better themselves. Regardless of how you feel about someone’s outer appearance, aren’t they sitting next to you in a classroom learning the same complex material as you are?
This invite didn’t really want to see students’ “inner thug.” In actuality, this invite wanted people to bring out their inner ignorance.
I can’t lie to you or myself and expect much to realistically change, because racism is rooted in ignorance, and I believe that the people that most need to read this will undoubtedly be too busy looking to respond to my article or planning the next event to shame others.
But my name is attached to this article. If you want to get educated on African-American culture, ask me. I’ve had talks in the U.S. Navy with fellow sailors who had never been around African-Americans before. No, we don’t have extra leg muscles that make us more athletic. No, we don’t all go crazy for fried chicken (I’m actually a vegetarian).
Prejudice is a part of life. Prejudice is just having a preconceived notion about someone before you meet them. For example, every African-American is not the next Michael Jordan or Usain Bolt. Don’t accept the prejudices that your environment has socialized you to believe. And, definitely, don’t progress from having prejudices to becoming a racist.
Olutomi Odukoya is a 2L at SMU Dedman School of Law. All opinions expressed in this article are a reflection of the author’s personal opinion.