The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 13, 1996 · Page 72
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 72

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Salina, Kansas
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Sunday, October 13, 1996
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Page 72
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JALEEL WHITE 'Never be afraid to be yourself O UTSIDE THE GYM at UCLA, undergrad Jaleel White is watching the girls go by. "Hang out here," he says. "You won't get bored." He sounds nothing like Steve Urkel, the nasal-voiced nerdy college freshman he plays on ABC's Family Matters, now in its eighth season. Waiting to join a pickup basketball game, the 5-foot-l 1 White wears gym shorts, not the high-water pants and egghead glasses that are Urkel's trademark. But here on campus, he does try to emulate the Urkel trait he admires most: the character's courage to be different. "You should never be afraid to be yourself, under any circumstances," says White, who turns 20 next month. "The genre of cool is fleeting. What's cool today will not be cool a year from now. If you're yourself, you'll be at peace with yourself." Today's generation of college students grew up watching White — and still are. At UCLA, where he's in his second year, White often finds classmates staring at him instead of the blackboard. But he's watching them, too. And he notices that many of them have a great need to fit in and be cool, to be accepted by peers at all costs. He's been guilty of this himself. He recalls the day he joined hundreds of students to watch the first O.J, Simpson verdict on TV. When "not guilty" was announced, he says, all the whites were upset, while he and the other African Americans cheered. "White kids felt they had to stick with their own. Black kids felt they had to stick with their own. And I found myself caught up in it — picking a side." Peer pressure was intense. "If you were the one black person saying O.J. was guilty, you were [considered] a sellout. ... I looked around and thought, 'This is really sad.' " White finds himself wondering: How might Urkel view things? "Look out there," White says as he watches passersby of all races and ethnic groups. "People are so different, and that's what makes the world so beautiful." But Urkel would put it another way. "He'd say, America, stop hating each other, please. Because when you really get Studying: English. He has written one down to it, we're all the same.'" MORE ADVICE FROM WHITE Known as Urkel.'" • Lose the big head: "If everyone is saying, 'Hey, man, you're great, man,' you can't help but buy into it. There were times I could have gone haywire with a swelled head, but my mom and dad said, 'No, this is not the way it's going to be.' That was wise." • For child actors: Don't act "if you're doing it to be rich, famous or to please your parents. Do it because you love it. My parents never told me what I was earning until I was 15. They knew I needed to stay focused on school and work." • Don't live through your children: "Don't force your kids to do extracurricular activities because that's what you wanted to do all your life." • For college students: "People say, 'I put in my four years, now where is my great job and my white picket fence?' You shouldn't have that attitude. Jobs are hard to find. I encourage kids to look at our economy and try to be creative to find a niche." • Don't toss that Urkel merchandise: There have been more than 75 Urkel products, including dolls. "Hold on to those dolls, folks. I'm not done yet. Someday those dolls could be worth money." ca White will write or call one reader who seeks advice on a particular topic. Write by Oct. 20 to 'Straight Talk," P.O. Box 3455, Chicago, III. 60654 (or fax to: 312-661-0375; e-mail: talk@usaweekend.com). Zaslow Is an advice columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times Features Syndicate. • bOTW tIM IW MOM. f •**• « taMH ««. t*. Mm UN. nv *•*«•*. EDITOR, PRESIDENT & CEO: Marcla BulKwl * PUBUSHER: Chart* GabrMtpn VICE PRESIDENTS: Dave Barber, BUI Coakley, Carol Kemw-Odtfi, Beth Lawrence, Tobey lyden, Thomas Meitel U.IHIII^B Executive Editor: Amy Eisman Senior Auodale Editor*: Dan Olmsted, Brands Turner Aimdite Edttora; Carol Qurman, Constance Kuiz, Lome Lynch, Kathleen McCleary, Jim Sexton Copy ChM Tom Lent Copy Edlte! Terry Davidson Byrne Mako A Otffsrenw Day EoTtor Pamela Brown AuMantEdtor.Gayte Jo Carter Reportorflwearchere: Myron B. Pitts, Richard Vega RtWMdw. M. Franco Salvos K'lrMlllil'UI.'EHaiiilH Jean Carper, Roger Cossack, George Foreman, MoniKa Gunman, Florence Griffith Joyner, Stephanie Mansfield, Tom McNfchol. Jill Nelson, Tabitha Soren, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, Greta Van Susteren, Jeffrey Zaslow CM Art Director: Pamela Smith Awlstant Art Director* Clay Auch, Abigail McConnel) Photo Editor: Sara Elder Technology Mgr.: TrevaStose Office Staff. Kate Bond, Monica Dyer Row liVIUIS Director. Oterck Casselman Editorial: Amelia Stephenson, Vin Narayanan AdvertWnf: Dean Abbott, Casey Shaw ., New York, N.Y 10002 mUl'IIIMl'IIPgBi 1000 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va. 22229-0012 $ USA WEEKEND CBEXXI 1400-487-2958 MttdtothiUM USA WKKENO Online thte week: Caring. Faith. Chat about both, live, Monday. At 8 p.m. ET, a volunteer coordinator tells how you can create a memorable Make A Difference Day project. At 9 p.m. ET, compare thoughts on religion with Bill Movers (above), host of P8S' Genesfs. AOL keyword: Chat Spot. Find your favorite USA WEEKEND features and more on America Online. To subscribe: Call 1-800-843-6800. Ask for USA WEEKEND. IS USA WEEKEND • Oct. 11-13, 1996

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