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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 5, 1975)
(Continued from p. 7)
through the work of Zoya Zeman, now a social
worker at UCLA. Zeman, who then worked
through student activities and the Student Y,
arranged several international functions, Hall
said. She started intemation bazaars and talked
with foreign student advisers about an
Her proposal was taken through housing
channels and the final plan emerged in May
1971, Hall said. After approval by the NU Board
of Regents that summer, I-House opened in the
"Opinions among foreign students vary about
I-House's effectiveness. While some enjoy the
lets-get-to-know-each-other functions, other
students feel the activities are burdensome.
"You're kind of obligated to attend these
things," one Mexican student said. "If you don't
go some think i wonder why they're not
participating? It must be culture shock.!"
"I think the American imagines that foreign
students have all these problems," a Colombian
freshman said. "They think, 'These people are
foreign. They're strangers."
"A lot of the problem with I-House is that it's
not spontaneous. "They don't let you get to
know each other naturally. It's forced."
Especially irritating, the women said, were the
functions at the first of year where the students
"I'm not exaggerating, it was like you take
you and you take you," one girl said, "into
groups to chit-chat with each other."
"Really, how do you start a conversation'.'"
the Mexican student asked. "One, two, three,
What I-House really lacks, the Columbian
student said, is an international spirit.
"They need someone with a wordly
knowledge to organize these activities. Right now
people who aren't Nebraskans are organizing
things that a Nebraskan does. What this place
needs is an international spirit."
A student's satisfaction or dissatisfaction with
I-House depends upon how actively he is
involved, according to several students. The
Columbian student said she really shouldn't
criticize the House, since she wasn't working to
change her complaints.
But a Pakastiani student, who has attended
almost every function, said he was satisfied with
I-House. "I couldn't have made nearly as many
friends as I have if I'd lived somewhere like
Cather," he said. .
"Here you communicate with people from
different backgrounds and cultures than your
own. This is kind of the extra knowledge you get
from your education."
A Vietnamese student said I-House has helped
him break his language barrier.
"When I came here in August I had a hard
time speaking English," he said. "But especially
now, living here, I have to speak English."
To some foreign students, the lifted lamp
beside the golden door has dimmed. Many of
their complaints were aimed not against I-House,
but the American system.
"Many Americans have the feeling that
America is the end of the world," the Pakistani
said. "They think there is no other way of life
that compares to theirs. I don't know how many
times I've been asked, 'Do you have TV?' 'Do
you have cars?' They must think we still go
around on camels.
"It's true that America is on the top of the
world in the amount of accumulated knowledge,
and on the top tei'. tologically. But few
Americans as people are on the top. Believe me, I
didn't know Americans were so ignorant. They
don't even know what goes on in other states, let
alone the world."
The Columbian student critisized biased
American sentiments also. "People must think
we still live in the jungle and none of us are
civilized. People wonder, 'Why is your skin so
light?' Where s your donkey and big hat.'"
And, behind this culture potpourri, is Jay
Hall, working to maintain I-House detente and to
rekindle excitement. Although he is taking
human relations courses he said his main interest
now is I-House.
"If I'd ever see one person in the hall who'd
come up to me and say-'I've really learned a lot
about being here, about other countries, about
other people, real life stuff then for me, all the
work's been worthwhile."
By Nancy Stohs
For a foreign student in America, there are enough adjustments
to make: strange food, a different language, new friends. But what
if you're not only foreign, but black?
Ant not just black, but black in a predominantly white city like
Lincoln, on a campus where white students outnumber black
students 100 to 1?
There are 90 such foreign students at UNL. They came from 13
African countries, the Bahamas and Jamica. Five black, foreign
students, who were interviewed, say prejudice is apparent and
they've felt it.
Usually it's subtle, they said, like standing at the counter in a
store and feeling the white salesclerk stare at you. It's as if she's
saying, "How can you possibly afford to shop here?", said Judith
Sadler, sophomore in business administration from Jamaica.
She said she's detected the same kind of prejudice on campus.
Her professors, for example, will "raise their eyebrows" in surprise
when they learn how high her gradepoint average is.
"Matter of effort"
If direct job or housing discrimination goes on, none of them
have experienced it personally, they said.
Oladipo 0 k ok un, Nigerian civil engineering major and
president of the African Student Association, said he believes much
of it is a matter of effort. If an African student applies for a job, he
said, he'll probably have as good a chance as anyone to get it.
Olokun says he will return to Nigeria after graduation.
But for the native American black, that avenue isn't open.
Sadler, who said she has some good friends among them,
sympathized with their case and said she understands why they
"They've had to live with prejudice all their lives, she said.
"They've developed a cynical outlook. They're weary over it. We're
weary, too, but we're still receptive to whites."
"We grew up under free conditions-thcy grew up in ghetto
hfe,"01okunsaid. "We went to school not knowing racial problems,
and we have a sense of belonging."
UNL student Franz Fletcher, who moved to Lincoln from
Jamaica 1 0 years ago with his parents, said his pet peeve has always
been sex discrimination, as in dating.
"When I think of black and white, it's the same difference to me
as blonde and brunette," he said. "Most white guys don't think
that way, even the most liberal ones."
He said in Jamaica there's a lot of racial mixture among black,
white and Indian, and society there is split along class, not racial
Even if blacks and whites do date, they won't find black
entertainment clubs in Lincoln, according to Sadler.
"You hear white kids complain about nothing to do," she said.
"There aren't any real black clubs here, and no place plays the kind
of music we like. . . There are hundreds of black American groups,
but no one tries to bring them in."
Finally, looking for solutions to America's race problems, both
Sadler and Bruno Ekaiden, Nigerian graduate sociology student,
placed education first.
Ekaiden recalled the first week in his Lincoln apartment, when a
girl across the hall suddenly grew afraid when she saw him.
"She said it was the first time she shared a building with a black
person," he said, "It's not that she hates us or anything, she just
didn't know what a black person was."
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Wednesday, february 5, 1975
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