During this week in class, we had Mohammed Bey come in as a guest speaker, who is the Director for Multicultural Education here at Quinnipiac University. Mohammed had an interesting presentation. The first thing that he had us do was write down a phrase or word that you thought of when you heard the word “diversity.” For my word, and for many other people’s words in the class, we picked differences. This could mean the differences of religion or language or skin color or anything else that makes someone different from another person.
After that, he made us line up, five on each side, and had the two lines face each other. There were eleven pink pieces of paper on the floor, so there was always a spot open. As a group, we needed to get each person from their side, to the other side, but we could not back up and we always needed to be on a piece of paper. He also took some things away from us. For example, I and a few others were not allowed to talk, and some of the other people needed to stand with their head always bowed. This made the activity more challenging because without some people being able to talk and others not able to see, we needed to rely on certain people to figure it out.
After we could not figure out this activity, we all sat down and talked about how everyone has their own prejudices. Whether we believe it or not, there are certain things that we think when we see someone. The example that Mohammed gave was when his son was playing dress up and he tried on a dress and Mohammed yelled at him to take the dress off. Even though he does not believe that he is prejudice towards a certain population, sometimes, when the experience is close to your own heart, it can become a very big deal.
Listening to Mohammed speak was interesting because he took each comment that we gave him and each story that we told, and he made it alright because he knows that everyone makes mistakes and judgments by accident. You can live believing that there is no way that you would think of someone poorly, but in the long run, you have made decisions about people before they have walked through the door. This is just the society that we live in, however, it would be nice to live in a world where judgments are not made on appearances, but on the way someone presents themselves and how they interact with those around them.