I will admit, I grew up in a very WASPy part of New York State, so I had little knowledge or experience with diversity until I got to college.
Silly me, I thought that since the Civil War was over, people should get along. I thought that since I really didn't have any issue with people of differing races, ethnicities and religions, that other people didn't either. I was wrong.
The first week of college, I made a friend. This friend was white, and had a black roommate. My friend went out of her way to be accommodating. She arranged her space giving 3/4 of the room to the African American woman. She tolerated the roommate taking the phone to class with her (this is a time before cell phones). But she put her foot down at people hanging out in the room after 11pm on weeknights. Apparently my friend was a racist and intolerant of the needs of the African American Community! What?
It was like this for the majority of my schooling. The African American students went out of their way to not hang out with the others. This all culminated in, during my senior year, a Diversity Initiative. A report from a friend indicated that it got worse after I graduated. There was a protest by the African American students. They stood silently, holding hands and not telling anyone what they were protesting. (This was common on campus. Take Back the Night wasn't ever advertised until the day of, and people wondered why attendance was low.)
So, in essence, I was taught that I should just stop trying. For 4 years of college I was shown again and again that being tolerant of others was a waste of time, because they weren't tolerant of me.
Now I live in a predominantly African American apartment complex, and I have one thing to say. There boys have GOT to pull their fucking pants up!!
Seriously! It's Underpants Abuse!!