I was a pariah in middle school, and when I used to tell the story of how and why that happened, I focused on me as an individual, that there was just something about me that the other kids didn’t like. I tried not to mention my suspicion that being one of two Asian kids in my entire grade, and the only Asian girl in my class, might have had something to do with it. I tried not to dwell on how my school was segregated as hell, how all the rich white kids just so happened to be the popular ones, and at the bottom of the social hierarchy were the black kids, the Latino kids, the immigrant kids, the kids who came from working class families, and the kids with disabilities, the kids whose bodies did not conform to the thin, able-bodied standard of beauty, the kids whose gender and sexual identities were suspected to be not cis and not heterosexual. The hierarchies at my high school hewed closely to the racist, classist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic hierarchies in society at large, and yet I felt shy about making that connection, afraid whoever was listening to me would think I was just another whiner, another self-professed victim who blamed everything on race and gender and structural oppression in society instead of just accepting that maybe it was simply me, no other context needed except that I simply sucked. It was far easier to frame my high school experience as just the story of another weird girl who didn’t fit in and lived to tell the tale.

posted by ButterflyEffect: 1332 days ago