Culture of Exclusion
I walk down corridors filled with hate-filled glances, their eyes dripping contempt for all that they deem in their minds as lesser beings. Of the hordes of moving bodies, of young adolescents, I am the least of all beings. I am nothing, except when they choose to see me. It seems that I exist in a world of extremes: I am either nothing or I am something; I am either unseen or my presence is offensive. There is no middle ground.
There are no Hispanic students at my school. There is black and there is white, and one lone Japanese exchange student. 49% black and 51% white. You either are or you aren’t. I am most undoubtedly not, but technically I am. No cultural groups will claim me. My mother doesn’t have to worry about me falling in with the wrong crowd. There is no crowd that will allow me to breathe the same air as them, let alone be a part of them.
I walk down the hallways with all my senses tuned in different directions, like a radio searching for a signal. I am a paradox. In a setting of this or that, I am neither here nor there. Yet, I am in a constant hunt for everything. I have no teachers, but everyone teaches me something. I learn on my own.
I follow the rules; I follow the guidelines; I listen to the threats of the teachers seriously. I do what they ask, and still, I am no one. My English teacher takes great sadistic delight in refusing me permission to the bathroom. She wants to see me cry. I used to, but I don’t anymore. Her treatment of me continues to be the same, whether I follow her rules or not. I have learned the concepts of betrayal and deception from her. I wasn’t aware of those concepts until I met her. I still don’t talk in her class, but only because I have no one to talk to; not because I am overly concerned with her rules of silence.
My math teacher enjoys tormenting me; making light of my confusion for her subject. Technically, she is a teacher of math, but she is of the opinion that there is only one way that ideas work in relationship to one another. It is apparent that she has never had to think. She represents the epitome of my school’s train of thought. She believes there to only be one right way to life, which in her case, is math. My own experience has taught me that this belief is false. It seems ironic to me that she has sought to teach me rational thought through the means of irrationality.
No smiles greet me as I make my way from class to class. With my wide-open senses, I step sideways as someone aims a kick at the backs of my knees. I hear their muffled curse I continue to walk away from them, pretending as though it were just an accident that I managed to escape injury. I see groups of girls eye me as I pass, whispering and laughing; sometimes they also point, as though they think I am unaware of the obviousness of their behaviors.
After spending much time in these unending hallways, I know all the games; I know all the rules. It is here, in this place of life or death, in this place of survival, that I am a near master. That’s not something you can put on your resume. Employers don’t want to know that you survived public school. This does not impress them.
That is because the majority of them are either this or that. They work in a world of systems that work for reasons unknown to me.
No one tries to teach me. I learn on my own. I gather the lessons by myself, like one solitary farmer picking up produce day after unending day.
And so, I have tried to learn why I am the butt of all jokes and subject of all finger pointing. I look at myself. I have two arms, two legs, and a torso. I have a head with all the important features.
Sometimes they laugh because I don’t know anything about popular media. By that reasoning, I should laugh at them. They don’t know who Saddam Hussein is. How am I any worse than them?
They laugh at me because of the way that I walk. I walk on two feet; one foot follows the other. How is that strange?
They laugh at me for my accent. They laugh at me for my choice of words during conversations. There are no rules about vocabulary in school, except in regards to cussing. How is it that I seem to be constantly messing up then?
They have been taught, I was not. I am my own teacher.
I am at odds with their isms. I fit no stereotypes. I am my own person.
They have been taught to put people into groups by various characteristics. They see other people according to what group they are in. I see individuals standing in clumps together. Other people talk about “those people.” I don’t understand. Who are they? The rules for “those people” constantly change, and I don’t understand. I can’t see what other people see.
I seek to learn about how people classify themselves. However, I have learned that many people just stand by and allow themselves to be classified. They try to do that with me, but it doesn’t seem to take. They call me a multitude of things: freak, weirdo, geek, loser. I am me. I don’t understand why I can’t just be me.
I learn one thing at a time. I learn about one individual at a time. Most of them shun me, but not all. An old man on the street looks at me and I can tell that he sees me. He tells me to be careful, and I nod to him that I understand. A child sits alone. I walk over and sit down next to her. She takes my hand and smiles at me. I smile back and she does not laugh at me.
I have learned many things from the world, save one. People hate me; I don’t hate them. Life is made up of actions and reactions. They deny me through their hate. I am open to all things.
As I have gotten older, I have become less alone. I accept all people. It is purely up to them whether or not they will return the feeling. Before, I was met with criticism from all sides. Unlike those around me, I turn my back on no one. Now, a society of outcasts has begun to form. Within our ranks, people from all nationalities and cultural groups preside. Through forced isolation we reached out and found others like us. We look at what a person does and what they say–not how they say it.
We finally have a culture. Our culture is humanity.
~ by lastcrazyhorn on June 3, 2008.
Posted in abuse, anxiety, aspies, Autistic Spectrum Particulars, bigotry, bullying, children, children with disabilities, communication, discrimination, distress, education, Guide to being an aspie, pain, philosophy, stress, Writing
Tags: aspie culture, bullying, cruel treatment, isolation, rejection