I spent my teenage years in echo park california during the 90's.
The neighborhood is about five minutes drive outside of downtown LA.
At the time the community was a mostly hispanic and gay neighborhood. Rolling hills small businesses unlit streets and reclusive neighbors.
I was unfortunate enough to be one of a couple of white kids in the whole neighborhood. My mother worked 12-15 hour days so I was a latch key kid who
depended on me, my feet and the fridge...
I was bused 25 miles away to a gifted school with a very large Korean population. At first school was tolerable,, but then I heard the phrases-"
white boy"- "white ass" -"honkey ass whitey"-- I was sort of shocked, we do live in America don't we???
Isn't the primary language of America english? Aren't English people "white"?
This was compounded by feeling terrified on my way walking to and from the bus stop.
I would have to walk through five different gang territories to go to school or get home!
I ended up making friends in the neighborhood but unfortunately they were ALL younger brother's of some pretty serious gangsters.
School still sucked because the asian kids were very cliquish and verbally racist. I had no friends but my gangbanger in training buddies at home who
I stuck to like glue. These acquaintances were good for my safety on the streets because the older dangerous thugs protected their little brothers
and in turn me.
After some time I began to identify with the hispanics around me. In their presence I was "mental modulator" not white ass honkey bitch...This was
the only social setting where I was embraced by my peers and not "white" which, for me, had negative connotations at this point .
Couple years past and I was unofficially in a homeboy, I became street wise and I had the gift of being "cool" while not being criminal.
Strangely enough I was still white boy at school and virtually "alone" all day during my education.
One day I convince two of my schoolmate + asian tormenters to my home... I decided to take them on a little walk around my neighborhood... I made a
point to seek out every lurking gangbanger I could find.
I saw these rich little asian kids more and more terrified with each encounter. I felt their brief mental torment was good pay back for the emotional
misery they had provided me for years.
Strangely my next day back at school the racial slogans stopped complexity. Within a month I had more school friends then I could manage. My
popularity went through the roof and surpassed that of my previous tormentors. Pretty soon all my school friends were asian and I became comfortable
being a "White Boy" again!
I look back at this time with mixed emotions, as a person I never changed one bit, how ever the perception that people had of me did.
It is very true that power is a matter of perception--
Once I was perceived as possibly dangerous I gained respect and acceptance.
I have seen this same thing in the real world as a grown up. Society and government depend on this for stability. Rich people stay rich using this
psychology because the poor keep the rich -- rich.
This was the one and only time I have ever greatly benefited from the emotion of fear.
As we battle the powers that be may we all remember that we are active participants in our own condition. Those that may oppress us depend on our
fear, our doubt and the perceptions that we construct ourselves.
[edit on 10-7-2008 by mental modulator]