Into My Mind

Monday, December 26, 2005


In 9th Grade I was called a racist slur. It was, oddly enough-- in my favorite class which was and still is, English.

It was fall, the air was warm and the sun was shining through the windows. Sometimes, even in New England, summers don't fade easily. I felt the comforting heat of the sun on left side of my body as I sat down next to my partner Steve to work on poem. As we working, I got up to get a pen or a book from across the room and when I came back I thought I had heard word...."Gook." I honestly thought I had heard it in my mind for whatever reason and so, I sat down.

I knew the term, I've heard on television shows, and movies. But I had never heard said in person. And as naive as this may sound, I hoped to never hear it and directed at me. At that point and time, it was hard for me to fathom the thought of being called such an ignorant and derogatory term.

Minutes later, I heard it again and I knew that it was coming from behind me. It was Jeff and Kenny. Both dressed, spoke and acted as if they had grown up "in the ghetto" as they like to say.. when really, they were raised in the suburbs of New Hampshire. They even called each other the N word quite often. I knew Jeff from 8th grade. Although we weren't friends he had always been nice to me because that's how I had treated him. But...he laughed as Kenny continued to disrespect me...I guess I was being too kind for expecting so much from someone who chose to continually destroy his intelligence by smoking, snorting and drinking it away every weekend.

I didn't have any kind of a relationship with Kenny. He was on Erika's shit list and probably still is. He was her bully in the 6th Grade and made her life a living hell for that year. And so, she hated him with an absolute passion. I believe she once said, "I hope a bus runs him over." I trusted Erika's judgment so he too was my list. However, I never made it a point to instigate a fight with him, I minded my business and treated him as if he were invisible whenever he was near. Before this incident, I really thought that I couldn't hate him anymore. Oh how wrong I was.

He was relentless. The fucker made sure that I heard him And he laughed as he varied its use.

"I hate Gooks."
"I hate fucking Gooks."
"Gooks fucking suck."

Every time his words left his disgusting acne covered face..they didn't lose their power and pain because I felt it each time. It felt like flaming daggers dipped in acid were being thrown at my heart and soul and not once did I become numb to it. I felt the blood from those wounds wanting to escape my almond eyes but I wouldn't let them....I refused to give them that pleasure. Those tears were held back until I got home and cried into my pillow.

After I had cried I went online and told all my friends...even my be unrequited love at the time. He offered to "talk" to them but I told him not to. I was afraid of what would happen to be since Kenny and Jeff belonged to large pack of wannabe clones. They were trash but they wouldn't hesitate to hurt me. High school was/still is a jungle and my neutral self wouldn't serve me well in this situation. I struggled with what to do. My sister had read my e-mails without me knowing and chastised me for not fighting back, for being weak...I was in too much shock and pain to do so. Of course, she didn't consider this, she was just too pissed off at me. Go figure. At least my friends were supportive and they took care of me, I loved them for that..still do.

The end result of all of this was not thrilling or climatic. Either my sister, Steve or my friends contacted my English teacher, Ms. Younker. The next time we had to get into groups...I had somehow chosen Jeff's and Kenny's names out of the hat. Ms. Younker assigned me to another group and when I asked why, she gave me a look and I knew. I was kept separate from those two and eventually, they both dropped out of school.

Being Asian is who I am, and it's something that I can't change, not that I would want to. Yet, Kenny viewed it as some kind of deformity that begged to be ridiculed. If I dislike or even hate anyone it's based on their actions, not their race, sexual orientation, gender, age or creed. Because of this experience I have never called anyone a derogatory name and I never will.


  • Yet another solid piece of work! One of my best friends in high school was Korean, and faced the same thing. Best part was, when the shit hit the fan our teachers stood back and let him lay the beat down on this guy! Dear god, high school was a blast! Have a safe New Years Eve!

    By Blogger Goonie17, at 1:32 PM  

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