What 8th grade in Georgia felt like

Wesley Yang pretty well describes my Atlanta experience in this article. I mostly love the way he writes (some sentences were a little long for me) but I'm completely in awe of the courage it took to write what he did and the insight he brought to bear on it from so many angles. Yang gives voice to frustrations and desires that I'm often afraid to express publicly.

Its supposed to be a riff on culture and ethnicity but its really a piece on masculinity. Yang sees (for good reason) the successful white man as the pinnacle of manhood. A true man is the white alpha male. When I read between the lines, I see a cry for the significance every man wants. And that's exactly what I felt furthest from when living in Georgia as a teenager.

However, I would take note that 1) I'm not in 8th grade anymore 2) I don't live in North Fulton County, Georgia in 1989. So there is a sense that this experience quite far removed from me and yet the isolation, racism, and bullying haunt me just the same. Indeed, culture and upbringing shape our perception and can handicap us in many ways. And if significance is the product of our hands, we are left only with assimilation or defiance.

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