Why Me? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     To look at me, you would think I'm confident and have good self-esteem, but really I am the complete opposite. I live in a small town and everyone knows everyone. It never bothered me, but then I began to realize that it is not a good thing to have people know so much about you.

My town used to have a large Jewish community, but it has declined over the years. In seventh grade I found out that people I thought of as friends were calling me names behind my back - names I'd never heard before, names that had to do with me being Jewish. I remember being told what they meant and crying for the first time in front of my classmates. Even though I begged my teacher to let me go to the guidance counselor, he would not. And, no one would believe that the person I knew had started it all had anything to do with the ugliness.

In my middle school, grades meant everything; the higher your grades, the more trustworthy you were. Although I was an honors student, the boy who started this was class president and had even higher grades. I ended up visiting my neighbor, a Board of Education member, who helped me take action. I thought those students would finally get what they deserved, but again I was wrong. My principal let that same boy off with a warning, and forced another girl to write me an apology I knew she didn't mean. I couldn't believe I had suffered so much and this was all that was done. I felt I could trust no one.

In eighth grade I was no longer popular because everyone felt I was making too big a deal of the situation. People went around sneezing "A-Jew" whenever they passed me, shoving me on the stairs, and making fun of how I dressed.

I kept telling myself that they were jealous because I was smarter and

better off and in the long run I would succeed. I decided I would not report the harassment again since this had done nothing the first time. I had lost hope.

One day I was called to the office to discover that my favorite teacher had told the principal about what I was facing. He had heard kids say things and felt it was time to take action. Now the principal had to believe I wasn't making things up. Three girls were expelled, and when I found out, I got back everything I felt I had lost - my confidence, trust and hope.

School did not get better, though. I was blamed for the loss of the girls, but I didn't care. They brought it on themselves.

I started high school thinking this treatment was over, but I still hear racial slurs in the hallway. Racism will never end.

Then something happened. I was studying late one night when the doorbell rang. I heard my grandmother yelling and looked out the window. Someone had put a Christmas tree in our front yard. I didn't know who, although I had ideas. I pretended to laugh it off, not showing anyone that it bothered me. That was a bad decision. To keep such strong emotions inside is unhealthy and stressful.

Two weeks later a boy who used to go to my school told me he wished he could slap some Christian into me and that he and a bunch of boys were responsible for the tree. For the first time in my life, I just didn't care anymore. Apparently those boys have an obsession with trying to make me miserable. Prejudice will always be a part of my life. With experience comes wisdom, and in the three years that this hate has been coming my way, I've learned a lot more than most learn in a lifetime.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

Antonio said...
Jul. 15, 2016 at 10:47 am
I disagree with you when you say that you've learned then what most learned in a life time You don't know what other people go through and you would and could never understand. Yes some people have happy lives, having no fear or serious worry Most people don't People are just good at hiding their problems People pretend and blend in Yes I understand that you've learned a lot from your experience but not more than anyone else How do you even measure knoledge?? Every perso... (more »)
 
inkblot13 said...
Nov. 12, 2011 at 9:48 pm
I'm sorry that you experiance such horrible things, that can't be a fun thing to go through at all :( People really shouldn't make fun of people who are Jewish- especially Christians. Sometimes I think that some Christians forget that Jesus was a Jew. Anyways, kudos (did I spell that right??) to you for being able to express your feelings on paper and feeling comfortable sharing them with everyone.
 
Lalalovable said...
May 9, 2011 at 9:50 pm
It takes a lot of courage to write something this personal. It means a lot that you wrote this and you don't deserve to get treated the way you have been. Your not alone, I know what it's like to be discriminated against, not to this extreme... but i get it:)
 
dnm509 said...
Nov. 1, 2010 at 11:14 am
I hate when I'm walking in the hall way and people are talking about other people of a different race. They only say all of that to make themselves feel better about them. My mother always told me that. I just don't say anything because one day they will get what they deserve.
 
SecretNonConformist said...
Sept. 12, 2010 at 3:53 pm

You got this published in the magazine. Great job! Now people around the country will see what those racist a**holes did to you and realize how wrong it is. You know, it might help people who went through what you did stand up for themselves.

By the way, you're a great writer. Keep writing!

 
SierraLikesSnow said...
Nov. 12, 2009 at 1:12 pm
This is beautiful.
Racism is ugly.
Be proud of your heritage, and never let anyone get you down. You're a beautiful person, and are better off without those Christian extremists.
 
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