A former “Real World” cast member taught students how to deal with diversity in the real world when he spoke on the University of Tampa campus Feb. 28.
Mohammed Bilal, who lived in San Francisco for the taping of the MTV show, educated and enlightened his audience with raps and poetry while presenting the students with a 12-step program to appreciating diversity.
He compared feeling uncomfortable with someone to being an alcoholic.
“You have to realize it and admit it,” Bilal said.
He shared stories of his personal experiences with discomfort and how he uses thought journaling to express and think through his feelings.
“Whenever I have an experience I find discomforting, I write it down,” he said.
Bilal also informed the audience about his family tree and how it helped him to realize who he was. He found out he had a white ancestor who married one of his slaves and a Native American grandmother.
“I not only had to accept that my blackness was beautiful but that my whiteness was beautiful, and so on,” said Bilal.
He used interactive techniques such as volunteers from the audience and having the audience repeat after him to help explain the steps of the process.
These steps included breaking one habit with another and learning a new language.
Mohammed related this process to the students by explaining the significance of it in their everyday lives as college students, meeting new people and preparing themselves for careers.
“If you can incorporate diversity into your life, you’re becoming a more resilient person,” said Bilal.
“He had a good mix of material and could definitely relate to people,” said Adrienne McGill, president of Student Productions.
This event was sponsored by Student Productions as part of Black History Month.