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The New Divider This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Remember the days when the only things that decided one clique from another were who wore the prettier dresses or who played kickball better? Ah, to return to elementary school, where little girls and boys ostracized others for not having the correct label on their high-tops. In high school things change. Most students are not as worried about getting into the "popular" crowd as they are with trying out new styles and finding friends whose values, wardrobes, and hairdos come close to their own. Recently, musical taste has become yet another factor in the all-important labeling process that is taking place.

Whether aware of it or not, every student in a typical high school is having their choice of personal expression carefully analyzed by at least one busybody in their class. The data compiled from their choice of clothing, hair style and favorite radio station will enable this innocent person to be lumped together with others seemingly similar, regardless of whether they are friends or not.

There seem to be two large groups based on music. Those who like Top 40, rap, house,etc., and those who enjoy hard-core, New Wave, or anything on WFNX. Sometimes a person's tastes can overlap. For instance, one might love Depeche Mode, but have a secret hankering for Bobby Brown. Such a quirk in one's nature is not usually admitted, because it would cause much embarrassment for the poor soul and their friends. A person's reputation can be demolished by what tapes they are carrying around in their backpack.

It is not right or fair that because a student wears a Bon Jovi T-shirt to school one day that they be "labeled" with some kind of musical slur. Music does not make the person, nor does a shaved head or lots of hair spray. A high school, the same as the entire world, is not composed of groups of people. It is made up of individuals. We are merely different people functioning and carrying on our own individual lives under a common roof.

It's high time we stopped thinking in the "Us vs. Them" mentality, and started thinking "You and I." n


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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