The Racism I Experienced In School
Phenomena outlives many histories as generational knowledge gets passed into the future. Humans — scientifically born with no bias — are influenced by parents’ views, attractions, and more. Even as one outgrows their upbringing, the subconscious mind continues to lurk, showing in the actions of an individual. With time, little actions turn into large monsters. The truth remains that no matter how innocent one may start, the drive to harm begins somewhere.
It was a simple day when "Ax" decided to become the king. With no one to challenge — let alone question — him, the time to enact his views would be now. More so with the current limited supervision at play. A switch had flipped in the mind of Ax.
"You can't play with us." Ax shouted from his high horse. At first, nothing happened. Statements in a jungle of chatter goes unnoticed like a person in a crowd. Ax repeated himself louder. Nevertheless, the group continued, using our tools to build the mechanism that would take over the world.
Ax started turning his body, while still focused on poking the holes in the metal floor we were crouched on. "Get off the playground, dude!" Tension grew as Ax indicated his commands to be of serious matters. The field went silent, now paying attention to the commotion brought upon what was once peaceful. Ax had turned towards me.
"Now! You don't belong with us." He’d state in a tone of entitlement and annoyance. Thoughts unraveled from my innocent mind: Just moments ago we were playing with sticks and woodchips, yet now we are on this high-rise, and you seem to have a problem with me? This puzzled me. The only thought crossing my mind was… "Why?" I hadn't done anything wrong to him. I was sure of it. Yet his tirade continued. I reported his activity to the ones who guided us.
The teachers contacted my mom about this strange event, to which she became upset. I didn't understand why, even when I overheard the voices on the phone. It couldn't be racism. I don't even know what that is... But who knew a first grader could be a bully?
On my 5th birthday, I received a Game Boy Advance SP and the game Pokémon LeafGreen from my parents. I didn't even know how to read, but I was very excited. I’d develop a deep fondness for the game as I played through it, learning more words in the process.
In 2nd grade (7 years old), I met Nick. Our class declared him a math god because he did multiplication and division modules while we were still on fast addition and subtraction. I don’t remember to the extent that we were friends at this point, however I’m almost certain we’d make a connection at another person's (2nd grade) birthday party. Regardless, our school had an overpopulation issue and another elementary school was made to accommodate.
In 3rd grade, my class (in the new school) was having a rubber band war right before lunch ended: I took a shot at a kid and missed. The name of that kid was Kevin and we both liked Pokémon and computers. Kevin would introduce me to a game called Runescape and our friendship would foster from there. Every day after school, we would go online and talk on GOOGLE CHATS. Kevin — who was Asian — had an Asian friend named Boyang who also liked Pokémon, and who even invited me to his sleepover birthday party that summer: We had pizza and sprite for breakfast! Nick was there along with a few other cool people.
In 4th grade, I’d meet Raymond and Carlos. We’d connect over — you guessed it — Pokémon, along with our accelerated math skills compared to the rest of that class. I still remember where Raymond lived, and how his house was laid out. We would roleplay Pokémon with his brother upstairs. There were — of course — other people I was friends with, but those people aren’t important to this story.
All of the elementary schools in the area converged into a single middle school. Kevin’s family decided to move at this point (6th grade), and our communication would continue on Runescape and Call of Duty. At lunch, I’d sit with the people I knew the most, being Bo (who was in my science class), Nick, and Raymond, while Carlos would sit with his soccer friends. At our table, there were also kids that I’d never met before: Andrew Tang, Hunter Lee, William Gunawan, and a person who just moved to the area named Alex Tan. They were all Asian and this wasn’t a problem.
As time went on, William’s colors started showing more and more. He would frequently make remarks about "China #1" and how they would beat the U.S in a war. I just passed it off as him being proud of his heritage and never said anything about it. However, there must have been a conspiracy brewing, because Will would attempt to exclude me during the group's morning meets in the library. These attempts failed.
One day during lunch, I sat down at the table then went to grab utensils, but when I came back my tray was moved. In any case, someone did not want me to sit there. During that lunch period, Will and Alex were hostile, and I called them out for being mean to me for seemingly no reason (especially in the past few weeks). This must have been perceived as a threat, because this prompted an argument between them and I. More important is how the conversation ended: As we were in the halls walking back to class (right next to the library doors), Will and Alex made a statement: "You can’t be friends with us [the group] because you’re not Asian. You’re Black."
That made me upset. I didn't understand why I was being hated for the fact that I didn't look like them. I was 11 in 6th grade and had known most of the group for 4 years. Yet these two wanted to ruin my friendships because they (and more likely their parents) didn’t respect people with my skin color. I had enough of the nonsense and told the nearest teacher (who was actually the assistant principal).
On the next day, I got to school and went to the library as usual. However, when I got there I’d receive weird looks by Andrew Tang and the rest of Will's goons. People were also hesitant to speak to me... Eventually, the starting bell rings and I ask them, "What did I do?" Andrew tells me, "You got them [Alex and Will] in trouble. You shouldn't have done that." It’s as if the whole situation was my fault. I asked Andrew if it was fair to be cut off for my skin color, to which Andrew disregarded. I’d ask Bo if what I did was really that bad, and he told me that while what I did wasn't wrong, I shouldn't have done it.
I’d go to lunch and sit at the table, near Bo and Nick. However, Bo would act neutral around the others (but as usual in science class). Nick and Raymond remained nice. The rest of the group continued to point negativity in my direction, or outright ignore me. I was abandoned.
Followup: 7th Grade
Our middle school had a program called Gateway led by a wonderful teacher (that may be discussed in a dedicated article; similar to other good people). The issue was that there was a limited amount of resources which merited an application. This resulted in some parents becoming upset that their kid wasn’t accepted. Hunter Lee’s mom made a big deal about it, so it made sense when he told me on the bus, “The only reason you made it into Gateway is because you’re black.”
Followup: 10th Grade
We all went to the same high school. Kiyan Bhalla — who eventually became a goon himself — would add me to a Google Hangout Group Chat led by Will, who responded rather negatively towards me, and how I wasn’t supposed to be in the chat.
Followup: 11th Grade
In 11th grade, I joined Robotics. Alex Tan was the software lead for my team, and I was a software member. All the occurrences that occurred during that season are mentioned in the project article, 6299 QuadX: Relic Recovery.
There were other instances that occurred in that year. One day, I had been speaking to Nick when Will (who was on his Robotics Team) turned around mid-conversation to interrupt us: “Don’t touch me.” I just looked at him then laughed. By that point, I could lift 2x my bodyweight: He wasn’t going to do anything to me. I definitely wasn’t considering doing anything to him.
I’d end up writing about these instances for the first time (in 2018), because someone told me that they had spread a rumor about me. The people who read that story said our stories didn’t match, but the outcome did: “They hate you because you said 'they were racist' and they got in trouble." I’m not sure that their stories are believable — given my experiences with others — but the internal lies must run deep. 5 years had passed — since 6th grade — and not once had they reflected on their actions.
Alex and I were in the same English class in 11th grade, with a teacher who had assigned everyone a DSM test. He bragged about scoring above 3. A few years later, a person (rather close to Will) told me what they really thought about Will: “He is a douchebag with a God Complex.” That’s where it all made sense. I was experiencing narcissism at its finest.
I was minding my business during our history class while waiting for our next assignment. On this specific day, we had a substitute teacher: For whatever reason, this means that certain members of the class take advantage by acting rambunctious. At some point, the guy sitting next to me — Cameron Segura — would turn to me and say, “Caleb, you’re a nigger.” I didn’t get angry. I didn’t cry. All I did was tell him — in a neutral tone — that I didn’t think it was funny and not to do it again. He said it again. So I looked at him and said, “One more time and I will do something about it.” Sure enough, he said it again.
I got up and told the substitute, who recoiled a bit when I explained what happened. Then, Cameron was sent to the office. At that time, Cameron was dealing with another incident involving a girl, so he ended up getting sent to an “Extended Opportunity Learning” School (detention center) for all of these events. The interesting part was that his mom was a teacher, just like mine. In fact, we knew each other. His mom called us crying, because no matter what she did, Cameron continued to act up. She was really sorry for his actions.
I was debating whether I should include this story, because Cameron did eventually apologize. That apology even seemed sincere. This was also an incident regarding shock value, and not necessarily racism. However, people close to him recently let me know that he continues to disrespect people who look like myself in private. In all honesty, I believe that he doesn’t know what he is doing is wrong. That would make him a psychopath. So does that make it justified to call him out on his actions?
I can’t include what happened in this incident due to legal reasons. However, I can tell you how it ended.
I was playing Minecraft after I finished my homework, when I heard a knock on our apartment door. It wasn’t unusual for that to occur so I thought nothing of it. My father called me downstairs and I was met with two police in uniform asking me what I had done. They explained the potential punishments I could face as a 13 year old, should the other party press charges (and a legal case be lost). It was either self-defense or assault. I explained to them my side, to which one of the officers — who was a woman — responded that she “had been bullied as a child too”. You don’t expect your bullies to be your friends.
When the police left, my Dad started questioning me: “What did you do? Show me what you did?” We walked to the location of the scene and I showed him. He basically told me I shouldn’t stick up for myself in these situations; due to how the law handles black people. When all was said and done, I heard a voice downstairs, “Why is he crying?”
I do believe that the person involved in this story is sorry for what he did: Haven’t heard any issues from him since.
There were a few other incidents I’d face throughout middle school, committed by Indian people I’d consider — at the time — my friends. It always revolved around me being short and black, but those people have apologized.
I entered high school with a limited number of friends; none in the Marching Band. In my section (instrument), we had a leader named Cameron Clarke who was Caribbean (read: black). Cameron is one of the most respectable people I’ve met to date, and this situation was no exception. When we had lunch, I’d sit next to him and the group that entailed. This group wasn’t bad, but there were two people who I had incidents with.
This incident occurred on November 19th, 2016. To understand this event, you need a bit of context.
Tyler Stock was a trumpet player in the best concert band of our high school, but he had some issues. Tyler was always looking for trouble, whether it was exploding Rudy’s sauce in the band microwave or… rubbing his own literal shit on bathroom mirrors. You can’t make this shit up.
Lucky for him, his lawyers were able to only have him sent to the “Extended Opportunity Learning” School (detention center) for a period of time. I had a Spanish class — with another guy in the band group — where the teacher was informed of the whole situation (and not by me). Her response to it was, “That’s so sad. The janitor who has to pick it up is fighting cancer.” The class erupted in laughter.
Tyler Stock — who was in the grade above mine — has a sister — in the grade below mine — who is attractive. In hindsight, his sister must have been attracted to me. She kept dropping hints about how she liked short guys, and even gave me her number (without asking) when I quit the band. I was also known to be well endowed. Perhaps, she was just being nice. Perhaps, she wanted me to dominate her… Regardless, I’d never know because the "friend" who would’ve been able to tell me liked her, and I was unable to pick up on any hints due to everything going on in my life.
I’d just send images of fidget spinners and other jokes.
This incident doesn’t start with me mentioning his bathroom bonanza, nor his sister. It starts when I tell people (in a meme chat) to stop saying the word “nigger”. For the entire logged conversation, read Mirror Log. Certain parts are hilarious, but here is a summary.
‘Tyler says we will fight, and I agree. People in the chat are scared of Tyler — due to his aggression — but I’ve dealt with people twice his size; and closer to me; and maintain more muscle mass, nervous system training, and experience fighting without rules. When I state this Tyler takes offense. Tyler claims to have a video of him beating up some guy, but fails to send it initially.
Tyler’s ex-girlfriend (who went to another school) had been hospitalized due to an overdose on… pot brownies? So when Tyler responds with a slavery insult, I say that I'm "selling [her] potbrownies.” I never smoked weed or anything of that nature, and it’s already known that white people do the most drugs; hence her overdosing. This made Tyler angrier due to his ownership-complex over the women around him.
Tyler states that he isn’t drunk and asks for my address. I tell him that he can’t beat me without a weapon. Then he says that he is “coming for me”. He doesn’t know my address though, so I suggest we fight at school.
Tyler starts making lies about his sister and her friend wanting to see him beat me up; as opposed to us fighting. Yet at that time, his sister was "over Tyler" (due to the mirror situation). The chat is flooding with memes as people attempt to break the conversation. People are also direct messaging me (but not Tyler). Here is what I look like at the time (age 15):
Josh Decaro comes in trying to stir the pot with Carson Broe and I for whatever reason. Well… Josh is mad at me because I sent a meme — in private — to Evan about a 1% body fat percentage, and Josh wrongfully took it as an insult to his girlfriend (who was fat). Josh references a hypothetical conversation about me fighting a skinny tall kid, to which I respond that — regardless of height — I would beat them. So Carson Broe — a skinny tall kid — speaks up basically admitting that it was he who urged Tyler to use the word.
The people messaging me tell me to “be the bigger man” and apologize (but not Tyler). On the other hand, Tyler and I come to an agreement that we will fight at school. I tell him to have a good night…
By this point in the conversation, everyone is telling me to “be the bigger man”. I really don’t have anything to prove so I apologize and move on.
Bonus conversation with Josh (that occurred after the whole incident): JDLOG.
On June 5th, 2017 (birthday), I got invited to an end-of-school party. I had been working out prior to that, and thought nothing of it. For whatever reason, someone thought it was a good idea to have some fun boxing matches with boxing gloves; and no headshots as a rule. They create the lineup — consisting of friends vs. friends — but put me against Tyler. Now remember that by this time, the hatred is one-sided. I couldn't care less about Tyler — and had a PSAT in the morning — but he had a different idea.
We start the match and nothing happens. I came to the party from the gym, so I was sore and NOT going to be throwing any power shots. On the other hand, Tyler does NOT know how to box, so every time a round starts he rushes me (hugging) and then punches my arms. I’m lifting 2x my bodyweight by this point, and Tyler only has a six pack because he is skinny. In that same year, I strained my calf during Track Season because I was pushing through the pain. We are not the same.
Sidenote: When Tyler said that he fought a dude bigger than him, it was a drunk-guy with boxing gloves. So when Tyler was asking for my address, it was because he wanted to box; not have a real fight…
Tyler must have gotten frustrated, because at some point he starts trying to sneak in headshots. The fight should have ended once he broke the rules, but the high schoolers around us just went, “Oooh.” That’s what they really wanted to see… Meanwhile, I’m unphased. I’m not saying it’s impossible for a skinny guy to knock out someone, but Tyler was throwing them movie-shots. He headshots about three times before I call it out, which gets met with people saying it was “the most boring fight they had ever seen”. We were fighting on concrete… Luckily, no one won that day.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Tyler Stock is a psychopath, but years later his sister told me he wasn’t one.
This incident happened BEFORE the Mirror.
There are times where you can instantly tell that someone is a closet racist. I needed a ride home from band practice one night, and asked a friend, who I was rather close with at the time. He asked his Dad, who agreed. I’d hop in the car, and almost instantly, the Dad made a remark about politics — perhaps Obama — that was rather telling. For those who don’t experience racism often, there are two types of racists.
The first type of racist is direct: These are NOT the people who say “nigger” for shock value — as some people in these stories have — but rather the people that actively dislike minorities. These are the people who do everything they can to keep minorities out of their neighborhoods through rather inane methods (HOAs) and use dog whistles frequently. These are the people who vote for certain laws, not because it benefits them, but because it WILL hurt the minorities they consider themselves above.
The second type of racist is systematic: These people do NOT necessarily have an issue with minorities, but they subconsciously believe themselves to be above them. These people maintain a level of self-centeredness and an inability to connect the dots of information. They typically believe that they were given no advantage over other people, and that their [the believer’s] success is a result of being better than others. They are typically Republican.
A systematic racist does NOT necessarily mean harm. However, their inability to accept facts that don’t match their beliefs IS harmful. These are the people who — given one hundred equally qualified candidates from a pool — will favor non-minorities over minorities. Yet their justification for these actions will be evidence from the schemes of the first type of racist. Systematic racists are unable to realize their wrongdoings because in their eyes, “all is equal”: A minority group’s failure isn’t that minority group's environment failing them, but the minority group’s decisions. Systematic racists speak of “MY tax dollars” without realizing America is nothing without slavery. Systematic racists tell you how well-spoken you are, because they have internalized their “superiority” over others. You get the gist.
As much as we did together, Carson Broe is a systematic racist. If you look closely, HE is the reason the “Mirror Incident” occurred. He’d frequently quote how, “despite being 13% of the population…” He would say that black people were generally unqualified because of their culture, and believed that affirmative action should be abolished because “slavery ended 100 years ago”. Don’t take my word for it. Read an actual conversation we had over affirmative action: AALOG.
I don’t know if he changed, nor does it matter. I’ve included it in the story because for so long, I really did internalize what he was saying. As if I was unqualified, not because I was black, but because people like him would be interviewing me for a job, years from that time. I felt like, no matter what I did, I would never be good enough. It didn’t help that there were two other people who made me feel that way.
The reason that we don’t use Artificial Intelligence for hiring purposes is because it’s based on human hiring data. That data shows that there IS a bias when it comes to hiring. Is it because minorities are unqualified, or is it because people are unaware of the problems with the system?
I was in the loading crew for our Marching Band. This granted numerous perks. One of the head volunteers for our band and this crew was a Dad named Kip DeGilio, who is a retired veteran of the Navy. Take what you will with that information... Kip seems to be a nice guy.
The loading protocol involves almost everyone at the start, and only a few people at the end. One day, I was the last person to walk away from the trailer. As I’m walking away, I hear a voice going up in pitch with each word: “Nigger. Nigger. Nigger.” I turn around, and Kip — facing away from me — is walking up the trailer ramp whispering to himself. I didn’t think much of it when it happened.
I considered myself and Kip’s daughter, Kylie DeGilio, friends at the time. We got along in the crew and she was always being fun around us. There was a day where we were doing an inspection and Kylie — being a leader — decided to inspect me. So we finish the inspection and she says something along lines of, “all good nigger”, in what seemed to be a joking manner. So using her same demeanor, I say “Damn, I guess you owe me a blowjob.” Her jaw instantly dropped. She was ready. It was time to get serious…
Look. Kylie doesn’t owe me anything: I’m not entitled to a blowjob, nor do I want one from her. That whole conversation is her using shock value, and me using it back, while she is unable to handle it.
Kylie storms off in disbelief and begins telling other people what happened. For whatever reason, she doesn’t include the part where she calls me a NIGGER! Perhaps, using the word “nigger” isn’t a big deal in her household... It was funny because other people would come up to me to “provide guidance”, and all I would do is ask them if they supported her calling me A NIGGER! It didn’t help that Kylie already had issues with other people in the Band; including her ex-boyfriend (she cheated on) and one of my (3) future roommates (she insulted). She is an Amber Heard hearing waiting to happen…
Near the end of the year, it was known that I’d be quitting the band. There was this kid named Noah Balarbar who must have got the wrong memo. One day, he sat down in the storage room and started lecturing me. I don’t know if it was because I was quitting or because of Kylie. All I know is he started out with, “I know what you did.” He then went on this huge rant about how I’m a “terrible, terrible” person. All the while, I’m staring at him thinking about his bad eyesight, and how he said it causes him to “sit down in public restrooms not knowing there is piss on the seat” which results in his asscheeks burning.
At some point in that whole lecture, his self-esteem started to collapse in on himself. I just kept staring at him. His speech started slowing down, followed by him slumping over, looking at the ground, and muttering something along the lines of: “You know what, forget it. I’m just… reflecting on myself cause I’m a piece of shit…”
Pathetic. Decent guy. Just a follower…
National Honor Society
The National Honor Society is a high-school organization that requires you to volunteer a certain number of hours per month. One way I achieved my hours was by volunteering for an elderly home which involved assisting the company with events, communicating with the elderly, and transporting them. Most of those people were nice.
There was one day where I was tasked with assisting somebody in the Memory Care Unit lobby, which was filled with nurses and a single patient. As I walked, a nurse acknowledged my presence by exclaiming excitedly, “He’s here!” The patient — an old lady — looked at me and started shaking uncontrollably. We stared at each other for a few seconds more, before she mustered all the energy she could to point at me — still shaking — in fear. “I’m so sorry! She doesn’t like you.” The nurse apologized in disbelief. I was laughing internally. It’s as if I were the executioner, sent to punish her hatred.
A mental illness is a peer into society’s subconscious. What we have to remember is that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 occurred — at that time — 51 years ago. My mom was that age. It’s highly likely — given the age of the people in the nursing home — that this was a racist patient and a grim reminder of how recent these anti-racist policies were instated. Who knows how many racists surround us today?
The only reason I made this article was because I wanted to showcase all of my major projects on the website. In order to do that, I would need to include my experience in Robotics. However, the end-result of that experience would NOT make sense without understanding these incidents.
In 6299 QuadX: Relic Recovery, I state that Kiyan becomes a “follower”. This is because — in addition to other incidents — he begins to do this:
These incidents would persist into the next year, and DID affect a certain member’s view of me. While Kiyan has apologized, I can’t be friends with him as long as he is friends with other racists.
When asked about this issue, a teacher reminded me that there isn't even a race field on the form. Therefore, being black had nothing to do with my acceptance. On the other hand, it must be embarrassing to score less on the SAT than a black person who was pulled over 10 minutes before it.
This person has apologized.
Rather isolated. No issues 🙂
I wonder what life would be like without racists. You can’t ignore racism, because it doesn’t stop interviewers and loan appraisers and whoever the fuck else from harming me. People can change, but the effects of their actions don’t. Racism is inescapable.