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The Pain of Prejudice
“Now think critically,” my teacher said. “How can we stop racism against people of colour?” She had bright pink hair and a stylish outfit, as per usual.
I thought for a second, then raised my hand. The teacher allowed me to speak. “In my opinion, we can’t really stop racism. We’re only humans. There will always be hate. It’s the way humans work. It's not only people of colour, though. Everyone just hates everyone.”
“Oh, yeah? I don’t see anything racist about me,” the teacher responded angrily. “Frankly, I disagree with you.” I looked around at the faces of my peers, all glaring back at me with intolerant expressions.
Azalea, the person two seats away from me, raised her hand. She had an entitled rich-girl kind of look but was still very respectable. She always had something to say. The teacher pointed at her, allowing her to speak.
“Throughout history, the human race has been prejudistic towards its competition and people who are conceived as different. Due to our superiority complex, it is unfathomable to merely allude for us to cease of our natural instincts of disassociating with opposing races. In other words, we’ll always be racist.”
The class was astonished by these words of wisdom and stood up to applaud it, cheering and hooting obnoxiously. I remained seated. What I had just heard sounded awfully familiar…
The bell rang in seemingly perfect timing after that disappointing affair. I grabbed my bags and attempted to leave the classroom as fast as possible.
I overheard two people conversing as I walked past. “That Darrell kid is so stupid. Does he really think he should have a say in matters like this? He got totally shut down by Azalea, though. That was hilarious.” They laughed.
What a way to start my day, I thought. The two were talking about me. I really did think I had a say in matters like that and was woebegone to hear that they had such belittling things to say about me, but I had other things on my mind. My next class, Drama, was three floors down from where I was in the school. We had a critical analysis of “Our Town”, by Thornton Wilder due today, so I rummaged my backpack in hopes of finding my paper. Upon doing so, I bumped into one of the older kids in the hallway.
“Sorry,” I said as I kept searching through my papers.
“Watch where you’re going, trash,” the person I bumped into rudely commented.
I paused for a moment, then virtually shrugged it off and pressed on.
After trekking down the stairs, I turned the last corner leading to the drama room and stopped myself just in time. Someone else was turning the corner.
“Sorry,” I said, the situation with a hint of familiarity.
The person grunted. “People like you shouldn’t be at this school,” they said. “You don’t belong, with your stupid worldviews.”
This frustrated me. It was the last straw. This was going too far. I walked past him, too angry to even want to remember what they said and what they looked like. I didn’t end up walking too far because the drama room was right there. And it was completely empty.
I looked at my watch. It was the right time. I looked at my schedule. It was the right day. Then where was everyone? My mind filled with confusion, and my persecution complex kicked in. Were they avoiding me? Does the drama teacher hate me too? I panicked but tried to handle the situation. Maybe the class was somewhere else? The only other place I could think of was the library, all the way back up the three floors. I ran up, the halls empty. Everyone was in their classes. I saw my drama teacher waiting at the door.
“Hurry up, Darrell! Didn’t you get the memo?” he questioned.
I obviously didn’t get the memo. I hurried through the door of the classroom and everyone was laughing.
“We got you!” someone said, mockingly. “How was the drama room?”
I sat down at one of the tables, avoiding eye contact with everyone. The seat I chose just happened to be next to someone I didn’t usually talk to.
They looked jokingly disgusted. “Ew, I don’t want to sit next to this racist Islamophobe!” they whimpered jokingly, looking at their friends for approval.
I looked over, confused. “What makes you think I’m racist or Islamophobic? That’s rather unsolicited, wouldn’t you think?”
They laughed. “It’s obvious. All you white kids are the same.”