The Comforts of Culture
We as a nation, have come a long way since the mid 1900’s when racism was everywhere, and discrimination was looked at as almost a normal, everyday occurrence. In today’s world, blacks, whites, and Hispanics are interacting everyday, whether it be at the work place, on athletic teams, or even just around the neighborhood. Although it seems like most people are looking past differences and are able to make friendships with those that might not have a whole lot in common with them, there are still places where diversity is wide, but interaction is limited. The Vandenburg Dining Hall at OU is full of different “cliques”, or groups of people from the same background. Whether it be blacks, whites, athletes, or upperclassmen, there is a whole lot of separation in the cafeteria. So why does it feel so segregated in the cafeteria? In this paper, I will try to explain the separation in the cafeteria and why there seems to be so little interaction between the different kinds of students.
When I came to Oakland University three months ago, I knew right away things were going to be different. I was just one of the many freshmen moving in to a brand new living arrangement and starting off new. One of the first things that occurred to me was that I was going to be surrounded by people of all sorts of backgrounds. I come from a suburban area that is pretty much all white and middle class. During all my years of schooling, it was pretty much the same thing, except for one black friend I had in 6th and 7th grade. Around here at the residence halls, I almost feel like the minority.
After living here for almost a semester, I had many different thoughts and opinions on the interaction between the different kinds of students. Some of them were cause by stereotypes, and some were just plain obvious. I chose to use the Vandenburg Dining Hall as my observation site in order to get a better understanding of the situation.
The Vandenburg Dining Hall is located on the ground floor of the East Vandenburg residence hall. It serves the students living in all of the housing buildings on campus. It’s a very large room that holds about 300 to 400 students at one time, but there are usually a lot less in there at one specific sitting. The walls in the VDH are plastered with OU pennants and signs, as well as many different posters relating to campus life. The entire far side of the VDH is one large window that overlooks Beer Lake as well as many other buildings on campus. There are all sorts of different tables set up in the complex. There are round tables that sit about 5 or 6 people, square tables that sit 4, and single rows in the very back of the VDH that sit about 15 people per row. When I first walk in, there is a person sitting behind a desk who I give my ID to swipe in order to be allowed to eat at the VDH. There is a salad bar on my right, as well as the soda fountains. There is also a room where...