Being here for three and a half years, I have developed a certain set of rules for myself. Some of them people may not like, others can be seen as a racial thing -- but then again, nowadays, what isn't? Now, some of these I follow and truly believe. Others I follow when they need to be followed.
So, without further ado, here are some rules that make sense when you walk a mile in a minority's shoes, or at least this one.
Rule: When you get stared at, wave or nod. I'm sure if you're black or any other type of minority, at least one time you've been stared at, whether it is en route to Ball State or on the Ball State campus. I know I have been stared at on both accounts.
Now, that doesn't upset me, but when I use my non-replaceable time to give you the courtesy to wave, nod or even say, "What's up?" to you and then I get silence as my answer, that's when I get upset. Now, I'll either do two things: I'll either make it a point and be vocal about it because you didn't talk to me or I'll just shrug it off and wait until the next time. I have noticed that when I am vocal, however, I get a response more often than just silence.
Rule: If you are of a minority status, it's good to sit in the front of the class, but not necessary. For example, if you just happen to be the only minority in a class, you don't have to. Your teacher will know who you are. As a friend from the Bronx once said, "Man, if you're black, your teacher is going to know it. It's like you have a halo over your head."
Let's be honest for a moment. If you have minorities in your class, they stand out. I'm sure I stand out as people flip through the paper and people see my picture. Just as one person once told me, "all this salt and a few specks of pepper around."
Rule: If you are a minority and see a minority, then wave, nod, or speak to them as you pass by each other. I remember one European-American student once told me she was amazed at how "well the black students seem to all know each other and are well connected." I also love when people who aren't minorities say, "It appears that all the minorities know each other."
Well, actually, we don't (sorry to burst any bubbles) but we appear as if we do just by speaking to each other on campus. It goes back to the whole "power in numbers" thing. Even if you appear united, disagreement won't cause the group to break.
Rule: I don't move until someone asks me to. I'll set up a scenario here. Imagine you're a minority (hard for some people, but do it anyway) and you're standing in line over in LaFollette's Out of Bounds restaurant waiting for a cheeseburger. Someone comes to get a Mountain Dew out of the refrigerator. Do you move or do you wait until they ask you to move? Where I come from (Southside of Chicago), manners count for something and my parents raised me right. So, I stand there until I'm asked to move. When I hear the magic words, "Excuse me," that's when I move. If I don't hear those words, I don't move.
I think it's evident that all people have certain rules that govern their lives. For example, when you study, when you kick people out of your room or house, when you go to a certain building to get alcohol "because you're on the list" (you know who you are), or when to start to work on your projects. One last reminder: Don't take my words as the words of every minority on this campus. I have a feeling someone will probably say, "well, Moses wrote..."
Write to Moses at email@example.com