By Sean Goodwin
The world is a diverse place, but is a concept even the most open-minded people struggle to fully comprehend.
Matt Glowacki took an interesting approach to diversity by spreading the word of acceptance through political incorrectness.
In the presentation “Diversity According to ‘Family Guy’ & ‘South Park'” held Thursday at Ursa Major in the Bronco Student Center, Glowacki hoped to inspire the audience to learn how to handle uncomfortable situations in a constructive manner.
“We harbor a secret hurt with friends of ours because they say or do things that hurt our feelings, and then we don’t actively engage with them and have the conversation about maybe why that triggered us,” said Glowacki. “I need to inspire people to be willing to have those interactions.”
Glowacki is passionate about diversity and engaging in conversation because he was born without legs.
His experience in life is one of immediate judgment.
In spite of that, he has accomplished what many people without a disability haven’t.
This is why he feels it’s important to judge people by what they do, as opposed to what they look like.
Fourth-year business student Jacob Luis of Associated Students, Inc. organized the event.
Luis said there are a lot of people hurting right now due to the world’s political climate, so he wanted to bring an event to campus that could give those people hope.
“This would be a really good topic right now for someone to be lifted up,” said Luis. “I want to bring that to my campus.”
Over the course of the presentation, Glowacki used inappropriate humor to make the audience feel uncomfortable.
He hoped to get a reaction in order to make attendees think more about the things being said.
To truly make the crowd understand the reasoning behind his own offensive humor, Glowacki used controversial shows like “Family Guy” and “South Park,” which are known for such humor as well.
“They’re coming, first of all, because they either hate the shows or like the shows, and they want to learn more about the shows,” said Glowacki. “Then I keep them with good enough stories and a good enough message, and I make it about them.”
Despite unsettling humor, a majority of the people in the room showed great interest in the presentation.
The question-and-answer portion at the end lasted an hour, with some audience members even staying behind to talk to Glowacki, wanting to ask questions he didn’t have time to answer earlier.
Athena Gougoulas was one of the students who stayed after the event ended to talk to Glowacki.
She said that the presentation helped her by showing her how to take an uncomfortable situation and turn it into something positive.
“It was really inspiring, and I’m so glad that I was able to see the struggles through different people’s perspectives,” said Gougoulas.
A big subject Glowacki showed the audience to help them understand acceptance was how humanity treats disabled people.
He discussed how an immediate instinct people have with someone in a wheelchair is to approach with caution they wouldn’t normally exhibit toward other people.
Glowacki believes treating everybody with the same amount of respect is important, explaining a disabled person isn’t really disabled; they just live differently than most.
People should focus on learning more about who a person is, instead of focusing on their disability.
Glowacki told a story after the presentation which perfectly summed up his outlook on life.
Glowacki’s parents built a three-story house on top of a steep hill and just a month after finishing construction, he was born.
His parents became worried they would have to sell the house because it would make life harder for their child.
However, their doctor persuaded them not to sell it by telling them, “Give him a chance to surprise you.”
“Imagine if everybody you interacted with gave you the chance to surprise them, instead of judge you based on all these preconceived stereotypes about what they think your life is like,” said Glowacki.
Glowacki is a disc jockey in his spare time, has his own line of wheelchairs and travels the country inspiring people to live differently.
Anthony Carrillo / The Poly Post
Matt Glowacki speaks with students about diversity.
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