When I was a senior in college, I was very late to register my second semester classes.
I had to hurry to pick classes right before the registration deadline and I ended up enrolling in a class called Outsiders USA.
I had no idea what I was getting into.
On the first day of class, our professor, Sr. Jean Kolken, gave us the syllabus.
Each week, we would study different minority groups in America.
Her so-called Outsiders USA.
Over the course of the semester, we would study the history of Native Americans, African Americans, homosexuals, Asian Americans, those with disabilities and other Outsiders.
Now the interesting thing about this class for me was that I had spent my whole life with primarily white boys and girls in school.
And the vast majority of my fellow students were Roman Catholic.
I had never been the minority.
Plus, at the time, I considered myself to be a moderate Republican.
In this class, I was a minority ten times over.
I was one of 2 males out of 24.
I was one of the few Catholics.
And I was definitely the only Republican.
Sr. Jean and her Outsiders taught me a tremendous amount about the power imbalance in this country.
I learned, in a very small way, what it was like to be on the outside looking in.
I also came to understand that the whole world was not just white, Catholic and male-dominated.
The class really opened my eyes to be “the Other.” And I really grew.