Seniors learn to accept diverse peers

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    Alex Turner learned a lot at TCU, but he discovered what it meant to accept others instead of just tolerating them.

    “Because when people say ‘I tolerate you,’ that means ‘I don’t accept you,’” the senior sociology major said. “‘I don’t see you as equal, but I just tolerate you because someone says that’s the thing I’m supposed to do.’”

    Turner and other graduating seniors experienced diversity through campus organizations during their time at the university.

    Community service helped senior biology major Tracy Cable interact with different people. She participated in various service events with Alpha Phi Omega, a campus service fraternity.

    Sometimes individuals will make quick, thoughtless judgments of others, Cable said. They should look beyond the superficial ideas and get to know them.

    At the Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County, a homeless shelter in Fort Worth, volunteers helped at a budget class, she said. They heard stories about irresponsible spending and the need for self-control.

    The volunteers realized they made some of the same mistakes and had something in common with the homeless, Cable said. However, the homeless had experienced more of the effects of their actions.

    “We make the same mistakes,” Cable said. “We’re all people. I love hearing [the volunteers] say, ‘I can’t believe it. I do all that stuff too.’”

    Senior accounting major Walter Sanders said communicating and asking questions could help people understand differences. Fear, however, could stop people from interacting with others.

    As an Orientation Student Assistant, Sanders worked with incoming freshman students. The experience helped him overcome his initial worries and meet other people, he said.

    If people could talk to each other, they would be more comfortable around others, Sanders said. It could change their overall mind set, too, he said, and people would become more group- or world-oriented.

    Turner said differences among people included differences of religion, ideology and culture, not just racial and physical features.

    Turner started a self-titled radio show on KTCU and discussed local, national and international issues. The show featured people with different ideologies talking about the topics, he said.

    “We have honest, but very true, analytical discussions about some of the issues that are happening in the world,” Turner said.

    If people never spend time with others, their views could be biased and flawed, he said. They may not have a complete view of life.

    In addition, everyone should understand their own views on life, Turner said. They should examine their prejudices and recognize how those influence their beliefs.

    “It doesn’t mean my view of the world is superior to someone else’s,” Turner said. “It’s merely just going and talking to someone who sees the world differently than I do.”

    Cable said diversity and acceptance of others would make the world a better place. It could create more love and decrease the amount of hate in the world.

    But she said diversity should not be preached at people.

    Sanders said spreading acceptance and change would happen one person at a time.

    “I may not be able to talk to every single person, but if I can live a life that I would want others to model, I think that would probably be the best way to change people’s mind set,” he said. “Because if they never see a positive example, how can they be a positive example?”