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When I was in sixth grade there was a boy I really liked. He was an eighth grader and very popular. At the time I was going to Baldy middle school so I had to take the SEPTA bus to school every morning. Mike, the above mentioned boy, was on the same bus with me and I got to see him every day. This was two years after I immigrated to the United States from the Soviet Union, and I really couldnít fit in. The crowd that took me in and that I became friends with was mostly black kids from my neighborhood and one Colombian girl who was my closest friend at the time. Perhaps because these were my friends or maybe because my hair was dark brown and I had a tan, Mike assumed that I was Puerto Rican, and after that moment he could not be convinced otherwise. He used to corner me on the bus every day on the way home and beat me to a bloody pulp, calling me a Spick or a Stinkiní Rican. I never told my parents that this was going on, or anyone else for that mater. It was just too embarrassing. And there was nothing I could do because he was so much bigger than I, and all my friends were afraid of him. This went on for a year. It came to a point that I would call my mom in the morning at work and tell her that I twisted my ankle while going down the stairs and couldnít walk up the hill to the bus, just so I wouldnít have to go to school and endure he beating. When my grandpa would drive me to my classes, mike would find me in the hallway or at lunch, and the more I tried to hit him back the more he hit me. The next year my family moved to the suburbs and I went to another school. There was no resolution to this story. No poetic justice of him becoming a cripple. I just ran like a helpless victim and there was nothing that I could have done at the time. I didnít want to be a snitch because if I had told on him I would feel dirty and he would beat me even harder. It didnít bother me that I was being punished for something I wasnít. I could have been any other race and he still would have hated me. It was the human capacity for hate and ignorance instilled in the mind at such a young age that made me angry. I donít know what the just thing to happen would have been. I just always wished that life would punish him. Not that he would get beat up for being white, that would only make him hate more, but that he would have to be in some life threatening situation where he would lose his capacity to be self sufficient and would have to trust and depend on a person of another race. Our own helplessness is the only thing that can truly teach us who the people around us are.
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