Yesterday I was blessed to be a part of a video project of AALEAD, an organization based in DC that supports low-income and underserved youth, where some awesome kickass high schoolers were talking about stereotypes and how to react to them.
I told a couple anecdotes in my interview about how I never really handled racism or stereotypes in…positive ways. I use the ellipse because although they were positive for me in my development as a strong woman, they’re not what I recommend preteens and teens doing.
For example, in sixth grade I remember some high schoolers making fun of how I didn’t have developed breasts. First off, EW why are high schoolers targeting a sixth grader in a sexual manner?! I ended up picking up a rock and flinging it at them, striking one boy in the head. I went home and told my mom, expecting some kind of punishment. Instead I got a stern look but a gentle “good for you for standing up for yourself.”
I also tried to break peoples’ expectations and stereotypes about Asians in my own special way. While I was a bright kid, I was angry that people assumed it was only because of my race. So I intentionally failed classes and tests to “prove my point”. Not sure how I ever graduated high school, to be honest. Ha!
Like I said, not exactly the best two ways to react to being stereotyped.
How do you combat stereotypes? What would you tell a high schooler who’s facing harassment and stereotypes?