Being part of two minority groups, USF student Rasheite Radcliff knows what it’s like to be discriminated against.
But even though Radcliff is a black female, she can admit to having prejudices of her own.
“From a Christian standpoint, I don’t believe in homosexuality,” Radcliff said. “There were times when I would disrespect people for their sexual orientation.”
Radcliff’s perception of homosexuals didn’t change until her pastor father forced her to get to know some homosexuals in her church.
“He had me sit down and talk with them, and I realized they weren’t that different,” Radcliff said. “That’s when I learned that just because I may disagree with their sexual orientation, just because of the fact I may disagree with their lifestyle and cultural beliefs, doesn’t give me the right to disrespect or discriminate them.”
And so Radcliff incorporated these lessons into Students Against Discrimination Everywhere, a new student-run organization at USF.
“The purpose of the organization is to stop all types of discrimination by using education and awareness on the campus of USF,” Radcliff said. “We’re not for the people who are discriminated against, we’re for the people out there who are discriminating. You can always comfort the one discriminated against, but that’s not going to solve the problem.”
Radcliff, who is a sophomore majoring in political science and social work, and Chante Hay, a sophomore majoring in criminology, hope to spread awareness and seek to educate the USF community with their organization. Their goal is to curb ignorance.
“An organization with this purpose needs somewhere to start,” Hay said. “A university like this is a good place for it to start,” she said.
Both Radcliff and Hay realize USF’s diversity Ã¢€” ranked 18th in the nation by the Princeton Review Ã¢€” and hope to change individuals’ perceptions of others.
“We’re trying to get the discriminators and get them to think before they act and get them to realize you know that what I’m doing is wrong and hurts other people,” Hay said. “That way they can stop, and that way we won’t have that many people being discriminated against.”
Staying true to their purpose, SADE is open to anyone and everyone.
Their next planned event will center on the stereotypes of college athletes.
“(SADE plans to) dispel the myth of athletes being stupid and dumb and that (athletics) being the only way they can make it through college,” Radcliff said.
SADE also plans to address homosexual stereotypes with the PRIDE alliance in October.
SADE meetings take place on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. in the Phyllis P. Marshall Center, Room 001. Students are encouraged to join.
Radcliff said she hopes SADE will be as successful as the Black Student Union and would like to see it branch out from the University.
“I do see it going far places because I’m not going to stop until I’m satisfied,” she said. “And I’m never satisfied. I’m never really going to stop.”