BHM: Freshman shares his experience as a minority at Biola

Alexander Reams explains how the Black community can be better seen and heard, not just when it is trending.

Maria Weyne, News Editor

While researching what college to apply to, freshman computer science and music composition major Alexander Reams stumbled upon Biola University. Although the school seemed like a predominantly white institution, Reams trusted that this was the Christian university he was meant to attend. 

A MINORITY EVERY DAY 

Reams was fearful coming into Biola. Through Biola’s advertisements, it seemed like the institution was the kind to pretend that “everything is all good all the time,” according to Reams. Once he got there, he encountered a very different reality.

As a classical composer, he found himself as the only Black man in his concentration. 

 “I’m the only Black person composing classical music at Biola, so it’s definitely something that I am always reminded of on almost a daily basis.” ”

— Alex Reams

Despite this lingering reminder, Reams feels that Biola has had the resources for him to feel more included and comfortable during this online academic year. 

FITTING IN 

While trying to find community, Reams decided to join Iron sharpens Iron, Leaders Engaging & Advancing Diversity Scholars and other huddles

Although the groups helped, Reams was always wary of the people that surrounded him and worried he was being seen as just a minority, not as a person. 

“Are they going to see me as a Black person?” Reams said. ”How are they going to take to my skin color?” 

PUSHING THE LIMITS

While Reams still tries to figure out where he fits best in the Biola community, he explained that the events that took place this summer surrounding Black Lives Matter served as a wake-up call to the white evangelical church.

“It’s that moment of realizing that these things have been happening,” Reams said. “This is not some outside thing.” 

He recalled SCORR Conference, explaining that many of the conversations limited by the white church were discussed during the event. Reams added that in his opinion, the Bible is a timeless work of literature without limits, meaning conversations surrounding it should not be limited either. 

“There are no limits on where the ministry should go,” Reams said. “This is not the evils of the world that they can just stand by and watch God fix. Faith without works is dead—they can have faith in God but if they don’t do something to fix it, to push this message, then we are all going to be stuck where we are.”

LEARN TO LISTEN 

Although Reams has not been at Biola long, he strives to continue making people aware of the struggles minorities face. He explained that although Black History Month is good, there should be continued support of these communities throughout the year, not just whenever it is relevant. 

For outsiders looking in, Reams believes it is vital that they learn and listen to those who are oppressed.

“In the kindest way possible, be quiet and listen,” Reams said. 

Reams explained that although research is necessary, many times the mainstream media misrepresents groups or communities for their own gain. 

“It really infects the perception of how people see Black people,” Reams said. “Because they think they have the [right] perception they will go in and do criticisms [of Black culture].” 

He called non-people of color to learn to listen and understand the communities they are interacting with, asking them to be patient and come from a humble place. Reams also pointed to fact-checking media and looking at websites like BlackPast in order to be more educated members of the community. 

“Listening is the biggest thing to do when we are talking about this,” Reams said. “Listening. The biggest thing is listening.”

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