Mike Dregginton, a UIC freshman, hails from the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Following a semester at The University of Illinois at Chicago he went home to his family with a changed view on the world.
Dregginton spoke in combat boots and corduroy pants, an outfit much different from the chinos and boat shoes that his mother, Diane, had bought for him before he left to college. “She’s so ignorant. She doesn’t even realize how offensive she is, our dog is a Black lab, not an African-American lab.”
The freshman spoke about his uncle, perhaps his least favorite guest at Thanksgiving dinner.
“My Uncle Jeff is really the worst one of them all. He consistently referred to my friends asking at UIC by asking ‘how’re you guys over there?’ I have friends that are girls too, these people have no empathy for the way women have been oppressed and totally ignore their plight.”
“As soon as I walked in Mom saw the way I dressed and asked if I was smoking dope.” Dregginton continued. “Like of course not, who do they think I am? Like, maybe once. Or twice. A week. Even if I was, it’s not like it would change me and make me do all of this stuff anyway, I’ve just opened my mind to new ideas.”
Dregginton commented on his sister’s lack of understanding and finally gave insight as to how his holiday meal went.
“She’s never around different people and doesn’t understand how UIC changes a person, makes them see things from a new perspective. Even though she’s only in the 5th grade she should know better than to call them “the Indians” they aren’t even from India! I get why the Native Americans are mad at the white man now. My portion of Thanksgiving grace gave a beautiful shout-out to my amazing NATIVE AMERICAN brothers and sisters. On top of that, I even apologize to them whenever I see one.”
Gary Rodriguez commented further on Dregginton.
“Dude, he was pretty chill when I first met him in Courtyard, then he started smoking weed with the art students in The Warm Spot and now he wears overalls and paints on all of his clothes. I haven’t seen him in a while; I think he spends most of his time in the art building now. I’m pretty sure they’re allowed to smoke weed in there.”
Rodriguez recalled the last time he spoke with Dregginton, “The other day actually. He told me he was sorry that his people took my land. I’m not even Native American, dude. I’m Mexican. I was just confused.”
When questioned for a final word he just dug in his pocket, lit a menthol cigarette, and tucked his hands back into his denim jacket as he walked into the darkness.