NOTE: North Scott is working to address this issue head on. We are determined to help any students suffering from bullying of any kind. If you are bullied or witness bullying, please talk to an adult as soon as possible. If we don't know of an issue, we can't help. Make North Scott the best it can be.
Now, the essay:
Equality among all races and genders is a dream that many of us have, repeatedly; nobody should be denied any rights or opportunities due to the pigment of their skin, or their gender. Over the course of time, multiple parties and individuals have paved the way for the black community to make moves — politically, musically, and overall influentially. Being part of the black youth living in a dominantly white society, there’s bound to be people with mindsets that clash with mine, and that doesn’t interfere with my everyday life — until it starts to question my rights and my allowances in this country.
The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was created in the year 1966, during the utmost hatred for men, women, and children of the black community. These brave souls have protested for the rights of the oppressed, boldly risking their lives and banding together against blind hatred. I have applied the learnings of these brave men and women for my whole life. Unfortunately, I ran into a situation where that became a danger to me. Over the course of my schooling, there have been a group of students that have been very outspoken in their beliefs towards myself and other black students. As they walked by me, they yelled things like “White power!” or wore derogatory clothing. One of the more vocal members of their posse, walks by me and clicks his boots when he spots me. Multiple run-ins with words and phrases have no effect on me, but one particularly warm November day, everything changed.
My alarm clock screeched its badgering tone, awakening me from my slumber. I woke up, instantaneously realizing two amazing things: it was Friday, and I was leaving for my state cheerleading competition after school. My morning routine seemed to fly by. Once I arrived at school, on any other day I would be walking among everyone else with my head down. Due to my burst of joy, I waltzed to my locker with a grin on my face, shouting greetings to almost every person I walked past. Throughout the day, I noticed the group of boys hovering around me at all times. Never directly next to me, but always near. I could hear their whispers, sounding like an angry hornet's nest. While this brought nerves to my stomach, I chose to ignore them; nothing could dampen my mood, not today.
The class bell spit out its beep, dismissing students to their next class, or in my case, home. As I walked out of the classroom, the posse stood a few feet down the hallway, all facing my direction. I hurriedly walked past them, and glanced back just in time to see him grab a set of keys from his friend, shoot a demeaning smile at me, and sprint out the door. I was trying to shake the image from my mind as I heard a howl of laughter arise from the group, now creeping up on me as I was walking towards my locker. A tall, sulking, skinny fellow leads the pack, walking menacingly slow towards me. He looks at my shirt, and a smirk arises on his lips. Although he hasn’t said anything yet, I can feel the words coming, like the rumble before a volcanic explosion.
“North Scott Cheerleading? Ha! You know, the only boys I’ve known to become cheerleaders have all been queers.” His group of friends keeled over with laughter, like the joke was harmful or effective. I said nothing as I grabbed my backpack, closed my locker, and hustled towards the exit. “Be careful out there, nigger,” he said, “something bad might happen to you.” I heard the hoots and hollers of my otherwise-silent peers die out when I walked outside. I knew something was wrong immediately as I looked down the parking lot. I see a white car, parked in the middle of the the road, engine revving. Somehow, the boys that were just behind me were now outside, behind this car, with hazardous delight in their eyes.
The car’s wheels began to burn on the pavement has they spun with amazing speed. As I saw him behind the wheel, coming at me with 3,000 pounds of force, I froze. I thought it was some kind of sick joke, or maybe a bad dream. I started to run as he came closer, but I knew I couldn’t outrun him. I jumped out of the way, into a snow pile. My phone hit the ground, and I saw the glass from it, spider. Looking back on the situation, I’m glad that I chose to be prideful and put my anger towards another outlet. As I rose from the ground, wet and angry, he sped away--his gang also gone.
I looked at my phone, saw how ruined it was, and immediately my vision went blurry. My ears warmed and my nose started to run. I could not believe that someone would act so drastically. Had I not been aware, I could have ended up in a hospital, or six feet under. I walked home from the crime scene, tripping over my own feet and letting the warm tracks of tears roll down my cheeks. I was experiencing a flurry of emotions, an almost overwhelming amount. I took many things away from this experience. I learned to never let my opposites get the satisfaction of upsetting me, or breaking my confidence; I learned that fear can provoke madness within others. Many people of the black community have died fighting for the rights I have today, and I will never let myself forget something so important. The words of Malcolm X, fellow African American and Black Panther member, solidify the emotion I have towards my loveless peers: equality, by any means necessary. If my silence in some situations can lead to teaching tolerance and acceptance in others, that’s a price I’m willing to pay.
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: We educators at North Scott need to hear these stories. If you are being bullied, harassed, or intimidated in any way, please ask an adult for help. North Scott High School is devoted to education--education comes in many forms. One of those is empathy.