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Author Topic: This Proves that Racism Goes All Directions
Coffee_and_Chocolate
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I am an Afro-Italian-German-American girl living in Spokane, so my family is very diverse and my parents raised me up with tolerance for everyone. Even so, I had struggles with finding my balance with people from different cultures, sexual orientations, religions, values, and races...something that everyone decides for themselves. People will mention "that black guy" and someone else will say, "That's racist!" I don't think so and it kind of peeves me, but not as much as this.
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There is this girl in my P.E. class that pokes and prods at me, asks me questions, and makes me generally uncomfortable because they get personal at times. She's pressured me many times throughout the school year. The first incident of stereotypes and racism was very mild...she's black and has a thick eastern accent...so she says to me after saying "Yo!" and I say "Hello...", she tells me, "This is how us black people talk!" I thought that this was very untrue...I grew up in three different places and my dad, from the east hardly talks like that. Actually, I have mixed accents so...
Next thing she tells me is that I shouldn't wear black because I am black. I found this very intriguing, but I just said, "I didn't have any shirts of other colours to wear..." and didn't stand up to her. The next day, she scolds me for wearing black shoes, being rude to me as to everyone else during the three on three basket ball team and starts asking me why I don't wear different coloured shoes. Seriously, I don't hear white people telling other whites to not wear white because of their classification....I mean seriously, my skin tone isn't even a black colour. She sometimes makes fun of my clothes and things because I'm not girly, (although this is not on topic) but the final thing she had to say really made my angry. This was actually quite embarrasing to be honest.
So, she was bored and no longer wanted to participate in the ball-game (another person left the gym, and now the teams were unbalanced). She asks me to come sit out with her and I tell her no. She keeps asking me why in this demanding voice that usually stacks pressure bricks on me, and I say, "Because I want to play basket-ball." She continues to ask me why like I'd just told her I wanted to break up. She says, "Us blacks gotta stick together. Once a black always a black and we always stick together" or something along those lines. This is where I snapped and said, "I don't want to. I want to play the ball-game." She finally leaves me alone, and I confided in my friend, telling her that I don't choose my friends based off their skin tone and she told me that someone had shouted "Le-anne's a lesbian!" (that is the name I give her) I say, "That's like shouting: so and so is straight after everyone knows that...(although gays are minorities, I don't think it's nessecary to shout it out in the middle of a locker room)." She says, "Your just stating the obvious. It doesn't really matter." Exactly...I really want to confront her about this, but she really scares me. How should I handle this? I don't know if I want to cause a scene by getting teachers involved.

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eh.

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Heather
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I imagine that Spokane is hardly the easiest place to grow up being multi-racial!

I hear you describing this girl harassing you, very routinely. For sure, it may be that she's actually trying, in her way, to connect with you, but her motives wouldn't change the fact that what she's doing is harassment.

I can think of ways you can approach her to talk to her about this, but if you feel too scared to do that, then I can understand that and always think feeling scared is a feeling we should trust. So, do you want to talk to her directly? Or, is that something you'd only want to do to avoid telling an adult and asking them for help?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Coffee_and_Chocolate
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I want to talk to talk to her directly, but confronting people scares me, especially her, but I do want to talk to her directly. I also don't want to cause a bigger issue by getting faculty (or my mom...she scares everyone) into this issue. I did tell my mom about it though.

Spokane is harder to be in (I have been here for two and a half years), but my school has a lot of diversity in it. You normally won't find multi-racial kids (black white, Asian white, Asian black...etc.) here. Most of the people in my school are Russian anyways...

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eh.

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Coffee_and_Chocolate
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She doesn't harass me routinely...it's just when we do talk...it doesn't seem very comfortable or friendly, or she has something to say. On many different occasions, she has asked why I wear what I do and why I don't dress up more often...it was more of an indirect statement I think that she doesn't like my clothes because I don't hear her asking everyone else why they dress the way they do...I might just be imagining things on that...A lot of the times she is sorta nice, but she just makes me uncomfortable in general...but I'm wary about people most of the time.

[ 04-23-2011, 06:00 PM: Message edited by: Coffee_and_Chocolate ]

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eh.

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Heather
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I don't suppose you two have any friends in common, do you?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Coffee_and_Chocolate
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No...

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eh.

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Heather
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I figured you didn't, but thought I'd check, since that could be one easier way to finesse this socially.

So, if you're up to talking to this person directly, even if you feel a bit intimidated, I'd suggest just asking if you can talk to her for a few minutes, then telling her that sometimes, the ways she talks to you make you feel upset, that you feel she's making fun of you, and you just wanted to check in and ask if she could try and please be more sensitive, maybe thinking about the fact that for all the ways she might feel like she doesn't fit where you are, you feel the same way, including with a lot of what she says.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Coffee_and_Chocolate
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Thank you very much! I know it won't be easy, but I'll have to give it a shot. [Big Grin]

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eh.

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WesLuck
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It certainly can be good to use "I feel" statements, in all sorts of areas of life. [Smile] I don't think there's a single person who has ever avoided all spoken criticism or misunderstandings, and everyone has feelings. =)
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