Skip to main content

Harry Potter vs. John Lennon: Help College Profs Bridge Cultural Divides

Beloit College’s yearly profile of the incoming freshman class of the entire country is intended as a gentle reminder to geezers behind the podium that they need to address students in the world where they live. Failure to account for differences in life experiences can result in comical culture clashes.

Culture clashes are a notorious problem for non-Indian teachers with Indian students, so we thought we would help by pointing out some potential differences that might or might not be about age. Students in the Class of 2018 will have been born in 1996, but their age is not the whole cultural story.


Beloit College in Wisconsin.

What Beloit College calls its Mindset List contains 55 items this year. As a service to college teachers of Indian students, we’ve culled that to the top 10 items that might be relevant to some Indian students, along with speculation about what an Indian student might be thinking as a college freshman. Each item is word for word Copyright© 2014 by Beloit College.

1) There has always been a national database of sex offenders.

Wow, you got so many perverts you can’t remember them all?

2) Students have always been able to dance at Baylor.

Whoa, there used to be a university with no dancing? What was that about?

3) When they see wire-rimmed glasses, they think Harry Potter, not John Lennon.

I think Thomas Builds-the-Fire.

4) Affirmative Action has always been outlawed in California.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

I’ve never seen an Affirmative Action plan that helped me.

5) Meds have always been an option.

It depends on which part of the year you ask Indian Health Service. When the money dries up, meds are not an option.

6) A dozen different actors have portrayed Nelson Mandela on the big and small screen.

At least they were all black.

7) Joe Camel has never introduced one of them to smoking.

Ceremony introduced me to smoking. Manufactured cigarettes introduced me to tobacco that makes you sick. Is Joe Camel the guy who poisoned the tobacco?

8) Whether to embrace fat or spurn it has been a front-page debate all their lives.

Where I live, you eat what your mama serves and consider yourself lucky. Fry bread rules!

9) The rate of diagnosed diabetes has always been shooting up during their lifetime.

Right. Would you like to compare how many relatives lost limbs? Let’s not get started on deaths from complications. Didn’t I just say fry bread rules?

10) Hell has always been associated less with torment and more with nothingness.

Say what?