You’re Not Like the Rest of Us…

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a world full of segregation? What would it be like if you were a different skin color for a day? Would you be treated differently?

Think about it for a little…

While you’re thinking about that let me catch you up on some of the fundraising events that have taken place lately.  We had a 2 day hot cocoa and donuts event outside of the student center, we drew the winners that won the prizes from the raffle that we organized, we also partnered with Armed and Readi at their jewelry table and were given 10% of the proceeds.  Lastly, we held a benefit dinner at TGIF!  A HUGE thank you to everyone who came out to that and anyone else who attended any of our other events!!

I feel like I say it in every post…but my god time is flying by!!! I’ve realized that as I get older, time goes by faster and faster.  Right now it is effecting me positively as I am that much closer to embarking on a journey to brighten the lives of others, so yes, I am extremely excited.  It’s kind of putting a damper on things though because it is starting to hit me that I am already a senior in college and I basically only have one semester left…it’s scary to be  completely honest.

I won’t get into all of that right now though; let’s go back to my initial question…the question of segregation and what it would be like to be a different skin color for a day.  What do you think?

In our last meeting, Peter showed up with random materials and broke us up into two groups.  The groups were distinguished by your hair color; blondes on one team, brunettes on the other.

Once we were split up we were each given mini marshmallows and spaghetti.  We were told to build a structure, using only those materials, that reached the ceiling.

Doesn’t sound too easy, right?…let’s just say if you were a blonde it was a lot easier.

The blondes were given almost double the amount of materials than we were given.  As they were building, they were given hints from Peter on how to go about building the structure.  As we got more into it, my group, the brunettes, was told that we were no longer allowed to communicate with one another…the blondes, however, could speak to each other as much as they wanted.

Once one person in our group came up with a good idea, he was sent to the blonde team.  He was quickly sent back to our team and then immediately sent to “jail” for talking.  Peter then went to the blonde group and told them exactly what they needed to do in order to successfully build the structure and within minutes of him telling them, there we were with our mess of a piece that only came about a foot off of the table, and there were the blondes with theirs reaching the ceiling.

Peter then came over to our group and smashed our structure as if it was something we hadn’t been working diligently on in an attempt to beat the blondes.  Throughout the activity it was clear to see that he was degrading the brunettes and completely taking sides with the blondes.  We quickly learned that we were not going to succeed because the blondes had power.

We then sat down and discussed what we had just done.  We were asked to write about how it made us feel and what had happened.  The brunettes mainly stated that they felt lost, unintelligent, disliked, and confused.  When discussing, we realized that this is what it was like during apartheid in South Africa; where the blondes were the whites and given all the resources they needed, and the brunettes were the blacks where there were limited resources given and were unable to talk.  Erik, on the other hand, was depicted as “coloured” as he was forced to move back and forth because they were not sure if he was black or white.

We learned that we will be able to see the remnants of apartheid when we go to South Africa. We will be treated a certain way based on our skin color which is not fair, but it is just the way it is.

I was also able to look at this activity in a different light.  I compared it to the effect it has on someone when you encourage them that they can do something.  Typically, when someone is told they can do something, they will do it.  In this activity, the blondes were shown favoritism with the treats they were given and all of the helpful hints that came their way.  The brunettes failed because they were left hanging dry.  I think this is something that we should all keep in mind when we go to South Africa and work with the kids.  If there is an activity that we are doing, all of the children should be told that they can do it and given motivation.  If one student is being helped more than the others, the rest of the students are going to feel as though they are not worth our time and therefore may not want to put forth an effort to produce something great.  It just goes to show that favoritism can make a huge impact on those around us and that we need to be sure everyone is treated equally.  We all know what its like to feel unwanted or left out and I hope that while we are down there, none of the kids have to feel that way.

We are coming up on our last couple of meetings before we depart and I am excited to see what is in store for us!

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One Comment on “You’re Not Like the Rest of Us…

  1. Pingback: Mzungu and Colorism in Africa | JAPANsociology

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