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A Student Surprised His Professor With His Own Du-Rags After A Class About Differences In Culture

"I felt like...how do I say this...I felt like Dylan and I were brothers."

Posted on December 8, 2017, at 11:43 a.m. ET

Doug Engelman, 69, is a PhD student at the University of South Florida. He's also an adjunct professor at the University of Tampa, where he teaches a sociology introductory course. One of his students is 18-year-old Dylan Romero.

Douglas Engelman, Dylan Romero

"Dylan is a very engaging and animated student — he talked a lot in class and I encourage a lot of discussion," Engelman told BuzzFeed News.

"In sociology we deal with a lot of current issues regarding social class, stigmas, racism, etc."

During a class discussion on culture and religion a few weeks ago, Engelman asked Romero a question about his choice to wear a du-rag as a cultural symbol.

"We were on the topic of cultures and how we portray it from the way we dress, to the way we speak, to the rules we follow, and he pointed out that I always wear a du-rag to class every time, so he asked, 'Dylan, do you wear a du-rag as a part of your culture?' and I said, "Nah, it's my lifestyle,'" Romero recounted to BuzzFeed News.

Romero then joked about Engelman sporting one, which made the class chuckle.

"I don't know if that's a good look on me," Engelman responded, but he said the two of them would joke about it afterward.

Last Thursday, Romero said he showed up to class a little late on purpose. He walked up to his professor in front of the whole class to surprise him with his own du-rags.

So a few weeks prior, My Professor was teaching us about different cultures & ask me “Dylan why do you where a dura… https://t.co/pJw553alpK

"I was so nervous, not going to lie," Romero recalled, laughing.

When he asked his professor to try one on, Engelman said he was a bit gobsmacked, but followed Romero's instructions and tried on his new du-rag.

"I'm a 69-year-old white guy who's not going to look good in a du-rag," Engelman said. "[But] I just went with it. I was really gratified that he did that."

The video has gone viral. Engelman said he was surprised by how positively it was received, especially by people of the black Twitter community online.

@Dylo_________ i fw this my dude 💪🏽

People commended him for suspending his lessons for a second to allow one of his students to teach him something.

@Dylo_________ I love how he was willing to learn and wear it. Didn’t say anything weird or offensive, took his tim… https://t.co/AIycTIR4XL

@Dylo_________ @BeardedDre so heartwarming!!! we need more teachers like this who are willing to let their students… https://t.co/cUZ86NaZCZ

"I felt like Dylan and I were brothers. Just 40 years younger and of another race," Engelman told BuzzFed News. "It was very unplanned, so to have that kind of impact...it's incredible."

@Dylo_________ The two of you hugging it out at the end though 😭😭

He said even students at USF, where he also teaches, came across Romero's video and talked to him about it.

Romero said he felt compelled to share something personal with his professor, but it was also a gesture of gratitude for leading an interesting discussion in class.

"This man changed my mindset in life in a whole different way while being in his class and I couldn't thank him enough," he explained. "I thought, Let me get him his own du-rags so he can remember me when I'm gone."
Dylan Romero

"This man changed my mindset in life in a whole different way while being in his class and I couldn't thank him enough," he explained. "I thought, Let me get him his own du-rags so he can remember me when I'm gone."

"Seeing him in a du-rag really did bring so much love and joy to my heart," he added. "He showed and taught me the point of view of a sociologist, and it changed me completely for the better."

@Dylo_________ "Shiid what yall trynna learn today"😭😭

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