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CRF Reflection: Progress is Easy to Erase

Posted October 4th, 2010 by mclaugke

Last year at OSU I went through some amazing changes/realizations in my position as a Community Relations Facilitator. It took me over two terms of intense self reflection and training to finally grasp the concepts behind these things called social justice and diversity. I thought I would never again see myself disrespect or oppress another identity through my words and actions. I believe it was my young, cocky attitude that came out when I believed that I only needed a year worth of learning to really know everything I needed to know. The realization of how wrong I was hit me during this summer as I returned back to my hometown and started hanging out with the friends I hadn’t seen on a regular basis for a year.

My friends at home do not share the same perspectives and attitudes towards social justice and diversity. I spoke up several times against their hurtful and inappropriate language but to no prevail. I was either laughed off or told that I was over exaggerating. I believed my patience would prevail in these situations and that eventually, over a longer period of time, I could have them realize the hurt and pain their words could cause some individuals. Yet, something completely opposite happened. I suddenly realized that after being immersed in this group of friends for several months had them rubbing off on me. I caught myself on several occasions contributing to conversations that would have been hurtful to many of my friends that identify differently than I do. I was shocked with myself, I knew social justice is a never ending process, but I had no clue that letting my guard down for a short period of time would allow me to revert so quickly back to some of my old ways.

I was ashamed of myself for being so naïve to the fact that I am only just beginning on my journey with social justice and diversity, a journey that will never end for me. I decided to confront my friends finally about the way they were talking and acting. Instead of having a constructed discussion about it, I was met by anger and frustration. I heard the faults in their arguments but claiming how wrong they were would not benefit either side. What started as a confrontation of one friend turned into the entire group of friends arguing against me. Even the friends who I know for a fact have been affected by dominate identities sided against me. I was shocked and it deeply affected me, I don’t want these guys to not be my friends, yet it will be so hard to hang out with them when their words affect me so.

I know that I have to keep pushing forward with my progress, even when it can be inhibited sometimes by my peers. I’m not going to stop hanging out with my friends, even though I know they make rude comments like, “Oh don’t say that around Kevin because he will get hurt.” I feel if I stop trying to talk with them it would be the easy way out. I want to keep having these conversations with them no matter how horrible they may make me feel, because I know if one day they come to me with the want to know more, I’m sure that feeling with make me forget about all the other bad times.

Kevin Rodemack
Community Relations Facilitator-Westside Quad

The comments shared by the Community Relations Facilitator program are strictly the point of view from the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of UHDS. If this article has inspired a desire to dialogue, the author, another CRF, and/or any Resident Assistant, Cooperative Director, or Resident Director would be happy to participate. Please contact (, UHDS Multicultural Resource Coordinator, to assist in making arrangements.

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