It is a show that nearly everyone’s parents watched growing up. It’s a show that I just started watching just last week. “A Different World” is what I am speaking about.
Season five episode fourteen focuses on Ron and Dwayne, two students at the fictional school (oh how I wish it were real!) Hillman College, an HBCU (historically black college/university) who are faced with a racial issue when three members of another school assault them because of a bet.
One of the students from the other school sprays what appears to be the first two letters of the “N” word on Ron’s car. When Dwayne and Ron fight back, all the students involved ended up in jail.
The boys go back and forth on their version of events and get into an altercation which leads to confessions being made by one of the students who sprayed the racist word on Ron’s car. He starts to blame the black culture for the way his life turned out and accused black people for complaining about how hard life is.
Dwayne begins to state his beliefs. “You know, it doesn’t matter how many degrees I get, all you people see is color. Your grandfather was an immigrant, you’re American. My grandfather was born here, Duke. And you people still look at me as just another n-” is what he finishes with.
The frustration that Dwayne exhibits in this episode is the exact frustration that
We should all follow the cop’s advice to Dwayne, “Maybe you should look at me as an individual and not as a color.”
In the end of the episode, it is revealed that the “N” word appeared to be just what it was, a racial slur. The only difference is that the guys from the other school were not the ones to finish the slur.
Watching this episode that came on twenty four years ago as a college student in today’s society shocks me. The same issues that our parents dealt with growing up are the same issues that we should not have to face. We should not have to be judged by the color of our skin or where we come from.
Why can’t we just be people. Was it not Ghandi who said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”? Well we cannot change society unless we change our mindsets. Why should I have to be judged because I am an educated black woman? I should not be judged because I am black. The person over there should not be judged because their ancestors owned slaves or because they have relatives that fail to see past race.
The past is the past and the presence is what we look forward to.
We are more than just our skin color. It is time that we as society stops stating this fact and doing nothing at all to change it.
To be the change we must do our part and teach the up and coming generation that the color of our skin does not define who we are or who we will become. It is just something that makes us unique.