By DEMETRIA PROCTOR
Special to the Sun-Gazette
Being an African-American student at a predominately white college feels like being a tiger in a zoo.
People look at you like something is wrong; other people drop their head and won't even look you in the eye.
Recently, some students made the Lycoming College campus feel very uncomfortable for minorities.
Notes were slid under two African-American students' doors that listed rude things about why they weren't welcome on campus.
I never knew that I would encounter a hate crime here at Lycoming College, because in the past three years I have been a student here, I've only had one problem with racism - and that's when Barack Obama became president my freshman year.
People yelled rude racial slurs when it was announced that he won the presidential election.
Being at home is worse than being here in Pennsylvania because people are outwardly racist and will spray paint things or vandalize your car if you are a minority.
Making someone feel less than human is completely unacceptable. No person is better than another; we all need the same things to survive, which means we are all equal
The incident on campus was a shock to my entire family. Once they got word of what happened, they wanted to drive up to Lycoming and be by my side in case something happened to me.
But I shouldn't have to look over my shoulder or feel judged when I walk in a room.
My grandmother said it reminded her of when she was younger and people would yell things at her just because they felt like it and she could do nothing about it.
We all have the right to speak out, and that's what I did recently when the news crew was here on campus. I voiced my opinion of how the incident made me feel and others began to understand what I was going through.
My friends reached out to me and reassured me that they would continue to support me. It's nice to know that some people don't care about the color of my skin.
It's a shame to know that no matter how many positive strides African-Americans make in life, there will be some people who look down on us.
People shouldn't make assumptions about others because of their skin color. People should love one another because of their personality.
It saddens me that there are still people in the world who clinch their purse when a black man walks by.
There are African-American males who attend this college who are presumed to be ignorant because of the way they dress. Some people still don't accept interracial couples. The interracial couples on campus get stared at - like they are in a museum.
The people who judge you because of your race, sex or religion are extremely disturbed. I should be able to feel accepted wherever I go instead of having to be extra cautious when I'm encountering new situations with people I don't know.
I want to be able to walk in a room and not have to count how many black people are in it. Things would be so much easier if racism never existed.
African-Americans - and minorities in general - have fought so hard to feel equal in this nation and yet people still manage to make us feel unsettled, unsafe and uncomfortable.
Maybe in the next 100 years African-Americans will be treated as equals by everyone. You are your own person and you can make a difference if you just speak out.
Racism on any school campus is not acceptable and I refuse to be afraid anymore.
Proctor is a senior at Lycoming College majoring in psychology with a minor in American history. She is a member of Gamma Delta Sigma and the Black Student Union.