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Teacher offers tips to help bridge the gap

Dear Editor,

Dear Editor,

    I read with great interest both the article “Bridging the great divide” and the student letters in response to it. 

As a professor who grew up in NYC and taught at a HBCU, I am not surprised that such a divide exists.

Since so many students seem interested in bridging it, I would like to make a few simple suggestions.

1. Next time you see a group of students from a different background gathered together, go introduce yourself and ask to join them. 

There are plenty of things you can talk about.  After all, you are all students here.

2. Attend an event that is supposedly designed to attract people from a "different" background. 

There are plenty of musicians from all racial backgrounds who perform different forms of music that tend to be more associated with a particular race.

3. Understand that "race" is a manmade category, not a biological one. It was developed specifically so we could discriminate against those who are different.

If you refuse to get caught up in the "race game" you will have one  less reason for segregating yourself. 

Some of the vilest humans ever  to walk the face of the earth —Hitler comes to mind — used the  concept of racial superiority to their advantage.

4. Think of yourself as an American without a hyphen and show respect for everyone's heritage. 

Before you say that you already do this, ask  yourself why blacks refer to themselves as "African-Americans" and those of us with European ancestors as "white". 

There is neither a country nor a continent known as "White" so I cannot be from there.

5. If you really want to have a conversation about race, seek out an organization or even just a professor to get things going for you. 

You might even be curious enough to find out where my office is and  come chat with me.  Who knows, we might just both learn something  important about the topic.

Finally, remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "Our lives  begin to end the day we remain silent about things that matter." If you are silent, is it because your life is ending or does this issue just not matter to you?


Dr. Eric Heinrich

Assistant Professor of


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