GUEST POST: What is wrong with being different?

NOTE from author Jeremiah Swisher: “Overall, I wrote this to show others how I feel and look at life. This blog post is to help people understand others from a different point of view–it is not meant to offend anyone.”

Often times, people hang out with groups of people in which they feel most comfortable with.  A thing that’s so great in life is when no two people are alike.

However from my experience, it’s fun getting to know different people with different interests and personalities.  But then again, I never really technically belonged to a group of people.

In general, I tend to have a different perspective on things. Just because I’m different, doesn’t mean I’m a creepy person to hang out with.  I just have different interests and enjoy talking to people that are different. It’s fun getting different perspectives on things in life.

I wished that I was “normal”, in which I would be defined as being the majority; at least I could fit in with having a common interest.  But I quickly learned that being different is a good thing, because if I was the same like everyone else, life would get rather boring.

When I was two years old, I was diagnosed with autism.

I was one in ten thousand at the time for being born in 1990 to get that label. I was showing signs of delays rather quickly. One of the strangest things that my mom noticed was that she could put me on a towel outside, and I wouldn’t move for hours. My grandfather was the first to notice, and he told my Mom, “There is something wrong with this child.”

I look back and wonder, what is wrong being different?

Luckily, I was able to receive services from the government in a fast enough matter to overcome a lot of my disability for having autism. I was celebrating my abilities instead.

Throughout life, I wasn’t always this accepting. One of the things that I overcame was the idea of being  uncomfortable around people that are LGBT.  But by being in more diverse environments, I quickly learned that people are different in different ways.  Someone doesn’t have to have a disability to be different. People have different preferences.

Maybe I’m used to a lot of friends liking Coke, as I like Coke soda brands.  But if someone likes Pepsi instead Coke, what is wrong with someone having different preferences than you?   You’re not living their life, and they aren’t affecting you with their interests.

Another grudge that I got over was getting used to hanging around people that are from different cultures.  It’s unfortunate to say, but often times there still are people that don’t want to hang out with people that are from different backgrounds.  Personally, I take it from a different approach: I judge someone by the way they act verses judging someone by the color of their skin.  Just because someone has a different skin tone doesn’t mean you have don’t have anything in common with them.

When I spent my time with diverse groups of people, I find that I have a lot more similarities verses differences. I remember when I went on this Civil Rights Trip that UW-Whitewater hosts; I was talking to some of the people on the trip—their life stories were fascinating.   It was nice getting out of Wisconsin and meeting new groups of people.

I believe that it is important for majority and minority groups to come and work together. If everyone was included and worked together, we could get a lot more done. From experience, it often makes things in life a lot more productive when people have different backgrounds and personalities.

I argue and stand with the importance of diversity.

Instead of hanging out with the same people, try talking to someone new this semester.

-JS

Now’s the time. Where’s your spirit?

Unity is power.

Come together.

In order to prevent hate crimes from occurring on the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus and community, an understanding of others and their cultures needs to be reached. There are a variety of educational diversity programs and events scheduled for the 2011-2012 academic year at UW-Whitewater.

These programs and events are in need of event promotion in order to obtain larger attendance numbers.The Diversity calendar and web page will serve as central locations for diversity information, committees, student organizations, resources and events.

Knowledge is power; we hope that students, faculty and staff members will attend the upcoming diversity programs and events. By exposing themselves to new experiences, attendees will understand what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes.

Together, we can make it happen! Show your CRAZY, EXTREME, PURPLE support for diversity on Twitter, Facebook and WordPress.

NEXT BLOG: guest blogger J.S. will share his moving experience.