By: Rodney Smith
When many people think of country, country music and cowboy boots, the word diversity doesn’t tend to come to mind. Why is that? When people think country, they think of white people because of history and the number of whites who were raised with it. But what makes country so different? Why is it so shocking to see people of color enjoying the country life?
From personal experience, as an African American male, being born African American already makes me different from others. Being raised in San Antonio, Texas, I come from a different background compared to many African Americans. In Texas, I was raised around a country town and school where I caught my love for such things. So, country then became something I was interested in. Dancing to it, singing country music and the country lifestyle. Being the color I am, I always get asked “You’re black, why do you like country?” or “How did you learn to do that stuff being black?” and with questions like these it leads me to think why is diversity so different in country?
Many Hispanics, African Americas, natives, etc. can be seen at country bars, concerts, or other country festivities. Being of a different ethnicity and participating in such events can make you feel special, because you’re a part of a diverse movement that makes you different. At the end of the day, everyone is equal and when other ethnicities can join together in unison, it’s a beautiful sight.
Personally I get asked all the time at country bars if I’m lost, took a wrong road or just here to be out of the house. Those questions seem to always change as soon as I step on the dance floor. It’s something about proving to people you belong that makes them change their views about you. Almost every country bar I’ve been to I’ve received weird or dirty looks until they’ve seen me dance. Rather than letting it bring me down, I love it and it makes me strive to continue to do what I love to do because I belong to a different movement, a diverse movement.
Strive to be different and step out of your comfort zone, no matter how others view you. Diversity in any situation should be embraced, especially on the dance floor.
Rodney Smith is a senior at The University of Saint Mary and majoring in digital communications.