Life not just black and white
• Race is a bridge, not a barrier, for white secretary in BSU
By Stephanie H. Olsen
Hard News Cafe: What is a "white guy" doing in the Black Student Union?
Doug Beazer: Different cultures have always attracted my attention because of their different styles of living and religion. Mainly, I wanted to learn about cultures that aren't predominant in Utah. The only way to do that it is to immerse yourself.
HNC: What reaction did you get from your friends when you joined the BSU?
Beazer: Most of my friends were already minorities, but my Caucasian friends were quick to remind me that I wasn't "black." To these friends I would say that being a part of the Black Student Union has taken me places I would have never gone.
HNC: What are some of the places the union has taken you?
Beazer: I was also able to get an internship this past fall in with the U.S. Senate. While I was there I had the great opportunity to meet John Lewis. Mr. Lewis helped Martin Luther King lead the march on Washington [in 1963] and change the course of history. Mr. Lewis offered me a Coke and invited me into his office to sit down. We talked for 20 minutes about how he was able to keep himself so mindful while helping people go out and make a change. That is what I want to do, help people to go out and make a change.
HNC: How did the BSU react when you started participating in the union?
Beazer: They were very accepting. At my first meeting three years ago, a lot of the members came up and introduced themselves to me. I am sure they noticed my skin color, but it was never mentioned. Without the friends I have made there, I would not have done very well academically my first year. I was having a really hard time focusing. My mom was sick and a lot of things were going on in my life, but they were the support I needed to get me through. By the end of my first year the president of the union nominated me to be treasurer. And this year I was voted to be secretary.
HNC: When was the first time in your life you remember meeting a person of color?
Beazer: It was in kindergarten. His name was Ben Thompson. He was my first best friend. Then throughout high school most of my friends were Hispanic. Right now I have a Muslim roommate named Abdul. Abdul has taught me so much about mutual respect. We share food, household items, everything. He is even teaching me Arabic.
HNC: What is the greatest lesson you have learned from being apart of the BSU that you would want to pass on to the students of USU?
Beazer: The greatest lesson I have learned is the meaning of multiculturalism. It doesn't just mean black, Hispanic, white, Mormon or Catholic. Break it down, it means everybody. I want the students to know that the Black Student Union is for everyone.
Actually right now there are probably more Hispanics in the union than African-Americans. It is just for people who want to learn more about different cultures. We need to accept each other and it starts here with the multicultural clubs. We meet every Tuesday afternoon on the third floor of the TSC at 4. This is were progress starts.