Photo/ Joshua Williams
A collaboration of six different students' portraits was taken to compose a photo to demonstrate the diversity on CU campus.
Being Single is not Bad
Racial tensions and sporadic shootings seem to have reached a fever pitch with this summer’s temperatures. From the killing of an African-American Louisiana man by a police officer, to the shooting of five police officers in Texas, the preceding months have been charged with racial controversy and newsfeeds crowded with fatalities.
Sean Mardis, a senior at Campbellsville University and a native of Birmingham, Ala., said he has experienced a stronger sense of community among different races in Campbellsville than in his home state.
Mardis said he has witnessed different social dynamics from all over America, and that he can sense that the university is making strides to encourage harmony among races and cultures.
“I’ve seen lots of people of all different cultures all hanging out here,” Mardis said. “From my experience here, it’s much more blended.”
This is a stark contrast, Mardis said, from his previous school in Alabama where races did not intermingle nearly as much.
While Mardis’ observation is indicative of the varying sense of amity between races nationwide, other students said they have noticed that certain political occurrences could have partially incited the onslaught of media coverage over racial issues this past summer in America.
Katelyn Howell, a senior and sociology student at Campbellsville, said she personally feels that she isn’t faced with racial injustice, but she knows many in America are.
“As a white person, I don’t face any injustice because of my skin color,” Howell said.
Howell did say, however, that she has observed how the 2016 election seems to have brought a lot of racism to the surface. People who would not be openly racist ordinarily, she said, use their support of their chosen candidate as a platform to demonize certain races and religions.
“With this election, more racist people are coming out of the woodwork,” Howell said.
With this wave of uninhibited racism, which may partially be brought out by the election, Howell said media sources might have been giving incidents of racism and hate crimes more coverage than normal. In years past, hate crimes and racial injustices were still just as present in America as today, she said, but this year’s election in which race is such a matter of discussion has the media more attuned to racial controversy.
Campbellsville University, an institution teeming with races and cultures from all corners of the world, is striving to counteract the dissension with love and acceptance, according to Dr. John Chowning.
“There is a conscious and ongoing effort on the CU campus to celebrate the diversity we have and to understand and respect all of our students and celebrate their individual and collective gifts,” Chowning said.
I realize now, I was the problem.
Though we did have some good times, I was so used to being alone that I didn't know how to act in a relationship. I let someone go that was special to me all because I couldn't see his point of view.
Now that I'm single, I've had time to realize what I need to fix and grow on. Single life isn't awful. Sure, sometimes I wish I had a special person to go do things with when friends aren't available. Of course, I’d like to go on cute dates and do other “coupley things” but the single life is good.
Being single allows you to go on adventures and find yourself. You may feel lost after a breakup or just feel like you don't know what you want and there is nothing wrong with that. Being single allows you to go out and have fun and do things you wouldn't imagine. It allows you to grow stronger in your faith and focus on your relationship with God.
So, go out and have “me time.”
Go out on dates with yourself - you may think you look dumb sitting there by yourself but so be it. I've gone on several dates by myself and let me tell you they are some of the best dates I've been on!
Have that special time to yourself it allows you to think and set goals you want to achieve.
Being single has its up and downs, but the best part is you get to see how far you've improved on yourself. You learn to love yourself and to realize your self-worth. Never settle for anything less. You know what you're worth - so go out and get it. Allow yourself to accept your flaws and just be confident. I always tell myself “you can't let yourself love somebody else until you learn to love yourself.”
Single life has its challenges, but there is nothing you can't handle with God on your side. Just know He is working on His plan for you and when the time is right He will grant you with that special person you will learn to love just as much as you love yourself.
Spear said that at a local restaurant he once worked at, he was blatantly discriminated against for being African-America. A family was experiencing complications with their order, he said, so he approached them to try to help.
“When I went out to help, the family told me that they didn’t want “my kind” helping them and wanted someone else. They started a big fight. The family yelled at me and started calling me all types of names.”
Some of these names, Spear said, were derogatory racist terms. Spear said that he went inside and asked his supervisor to handle the situation, who then went out to address the family.
Spear said the family treated his supervisor with the utmost respect.
When the family told his supervisor that they felt vulnerable and unsafe around Spear, Spear said his supervisor not only neglected to defend him but also took his tip money.
“I felt kind of bad how it’s 2016 and people keep racism alive and can’t just accept one another,” Spear said. “They knew perfectly well that I was just trying to help and they disrespected me and had the nerve to call me names and treat me like I’m not a person.”
Spear is from Ferndale, Mich., and while he said he has experienced the racism there as well, he said that he chooses to dwell on the kind people he crosses paths with.
“There’s always good people out there,” Spear said.
Rosemary Flores, a Hispanic student at Campbellsville University, who sees the school itself as racially and culturally cohesive, said she has a similar approach for addressing racism in the world. In her eyes, kindness is the best remedy for this type of discrimination.
“We just have to keep loving on people,” Flores said.
Raqual Valderrama enjoys herself at the lake. Being single she feels she has time to experience adventures and work on bettering herself.
Quick Links for Campbellsville University media
Between the administration, faculty, staff and coaches, Chowning said Campbellsville as a whole is dedicated to encouraging and commending different races and cultures on campus. This effort is exemplified in Campbellsville University’s annual “Dialogue on Race,” which Chowning said launched in the fall of 1999. This event consists of a chapel service, which emphasizes racial unity and acts as a catalyst for dialogue on the subject of race.
Several dialogue sessions are arranged, according to Chowning, and are led by faculty, staff and member from the local community. This will occur again this fall with more details forthcoming.
In addition to the “Dialogue on Race,” Chowning said that Campbellsville has an organized campus committee that is dedicated to addressing diversity-related issues and has sponsored training sessions on issues related to diversity. Greater Campbellsville United is another organization which Campbellsville University has teamed up with, Chowning. The organization makes efforts to foster positive relations in the community as a whole.
According to Chowning, it is vital that everyone recognize their social responsibility to understand individuals from various backgrounds and cultures. The neglect of such an understanding, he said, can lead to the kinds of erroneous prejudices and generalizations of race that riddle America today.
“When we fail to take time to get to know people from different cultures and to understand their individual backgrounds and experiences, we deal in assumptions that are based on stereotypes and false ideas,” Chowning said.
While Campbellsville University itself may be striving for the unification and celebration of all races, as Chowning said, not everyone in the community of Taylor County necessarily chooses to model their lives after this goal, according to Campbellsville University senior Devin Spear.
Most people may think that you have to be in a relationship to feel content. Being single is not something to worry about. I was single for a long time and in that time I was able to focus on certain things and take time to find out who I was.
Eventually, I got a boyfriend in college, my first real relationship and that relationship was special to me. We had our ups and downs, and I was still trying to adjust to being in a relationship.
Though I had been single for a long time this relationship taught me something: I needed to include him in my life.
Don’t get me wrong, I spent time with that person, but I needed to let him in more. I was always focusing on other things besides my relationship. It taught me that communication is a key factor in a relationship. If you don't communicate when things are bothering you or how you’re feeling then you cant expect your significant other to know.
I took advantage of the fact that I knew he would always be there for me, so I would just talk to him whenever I felt like it or I would avoid hanging out with him because I just wanted time to myself.
Finding Racial Harmony at CU