Dee's Journal



Entry #10: Here's what I'd do...


Becca called me up the other night. I was surprised because she's never called me. Outside of English class she's never even talked to me. It was kinda sweet, actually. You see, she has a crush on Chaz and he likes her. He actually asked her to the dance a couple of weeks ago but she turned him down. (I didn't know that! Shows how out of things I've been.)

Anyway, she called at around 8 and asked me if I could give her some advice about guys. You know, general kind of advice about what guys are like and how do you get them to like you without them trying to control you and all of that. We were on the phone until almost 10 o'clock. We talked about her and Chaz and how embarrassed she was about her parents' and their out dated ways. You know, the whole racial thing, which really surprised me because I always thought that it was just white people who didn't like blacks and Hispanics and Asians. (Well, of course I know lots of black people who hate whites too, but I never really thought about how Asians feel about non-Asians). Now I find out from Becca, that Asians are just as prejudiced against different groups as everybody else!

She said she thought that Chaz liked Wendie Benson because she was white. And I said, that Chaz seemed to me to be the kind of guy who did not follow anybody's rules but his own. It was obvious to me that he liked Becca and I told her that. I mean the way he told everyone in our English group that he'd lied about liking my play idea. (I wasn't thrilled about that, but it did show that the guy liked Becca!) She'd have to be blind not to see it.

She told me that he showed her a poem he had written and how he never showed his poetry to anybody. And I said to her, "What more proof do you need, girl?"

She was quiet. "I guess you're right. He really does like me."

Then what was the problem? I asked.

Becca told me that she didn't want to lose him, but she didn't want to upset her parents either. And I told her that she needed to stand up to her parents and tell them that she liked this boy and she respected them too much to lie to them.

I asked Becca if she thought she could tell her parents that. She said she wasn't sure because they were so prejudiced against non-Asians.

Then Becca and I talked about whether we thought this prejudice thing was something everyone was born with. I was thinking maybe it was, but then I remembered my grandma getting a puppy and a kitten from the Animal Shelter when I was about 5. She said she was conducting a "social experiment" because you know, everyone just assumes that dogs and cats are "natural enemies" (like maybe the way white people and black people are). Well, Grandma brought both of those baby animals home and raised them with lots of love and attention. And you know what? That dog and cat grew up loving each other! They didn't even know which one of them was a dog and which one was a cat, they were just brothers. So Grandma said that just went to prove there was no such thing as "natural enemies." Hatred and fear is something that we're taught. And if you get taught love and acceptance instead, then that's the way you live your life.

I told this to Becca and she thought it was very interesting. She said she agreed with Grandma Webster. It seemed to her that the reason her parents and their Asian friends in this country didn't trust people who weren't Asian was because they had been the victims of prejudice. I could totally relate. Suppose you are walking down the street and you passed a person who has a different skin color from yours. And that person takes one look at you and makes some racist comment. Of course you will remember that. Then suppose a day later, another person from the same group verbally attacks you. Then on the third day, a third person from that same group walks by. A part of you is going to be ready to be attacked. A part of you is cringing inside even if this person doesn't have any negative feelings toward you at all. You have learned to be a victim.

And when a bunch of victims get together they spread their stories of prejudice around and then they teach that fear and hatred to their children. It's sad.

Becca and I agreed to have lunch together tomorrow.




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