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Go with Respect, Empathy

Camille Smith

Camille Smith ’16 is studying African American Studies and double minoring in Journalism and Sociology.

From working at a cheetah conservation last summer in South Africa to spending a day with Nelson Mandela’s niece, Camille Smith '16 knows that her heart has been drawn to a life of African study.

With a bachelor’s degree in African American Studies, a double minor in Journalism and Sociology, and a certificate in Global Leadership, Smith is tailoring her education at Ohio University for a wide variety of career and graduate school choices. She has a plentitude of aspirations she wants to fulfill, but all of her goals are focused on becoming an eminent Africana scholar.

Smith recognizes that in order for genuine interracial understanding to occur, attempts to create identification have to start with people who benefit from white privilege. Being an outsider is one hurdle that Smith has had to jump in her attempt to become more knowledgeable. She turned a few heads when she went to a Kwanzaa celebration last year. But when folks in the room saw that she was there in support of, and to learn from, her black friends, tensions came down.

“I can never understand what it is that my friends go through,” she says, “but I can be respectful, and I can be empathetic.” Respect and empathy are central aspects to a degree in African American Studies.

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College of Arts & Sciences