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Posts Tagged ‘Bullying

Op-Ed: The Quirks of Being An Outsider

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A couple of years ago, I read a book called The Geeks Shall Inherit The Earth by Alexandra Robbins. The book discusses high school popularity and the quirk theory. The quirk theory states that the traits causes you to be excluded in high school are things that people will value in adulthood and outside of school.

I read this book feeling comforted because I was one of those excluded teens in high school. However, I was also skeptical. After all, how could I experience the quirk theory while attending a community college? Not only were there no clubs, but commuting  made college seem more like high school (minus bullying and racial cliques).

This summer, I will be starting classes at a four-year college and I’ve reread The Geeks Shall Inherit The Earth, hoping that the quirk theory would be proven this time around. However, looking back on my community college experience, I realize that the quirk theory has already appeared in my life.

According to Robbins, the quirk theory has many traits. Here are the ones that have been validated for me in community college and outside it:

Curiosity, Love of Learning– I took an American Lit. course in 2011 that changed me as a student, poet, and person.  I’ll call the instructor of that course Professor X. In that course, we were going to study part of Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of Myself”. I read the entire poem beforehand using a book from the library. I’d been writing free verse poetry since 8th grade and studying a very long poem like “Song of Myself” fascinated me. What was the big deal about it?  And so, I read the poem and subsequently fell in love with it.

When the time came to study it, I was excited! I remember exclaiming, “Ooh, it’s Song of Myself!” before we read it as a class. One girl looked at me like I was weird, but Professor X grinned widely. One year later, my love of studying poetry and literature earned me a student editor position for the campus art and literature magazine.

Creativity, Originality- During the fall of 2010, I got a poem published in the campus newspaper.

Passion- I started this blog in the fall of 2011 for myself and to inform others about the things I enjoyed and disliked so much. I expected only a dozen followers and ended up getting much more.

Resilience-  The fact that I made it to community college gives me a reason to be proud of myself. I survived the bullying and exclusion I experienced high school and have used what I’ve been through as inspiration for short stories and poetry. I’ve also been raising awareness about the impact of bullying through youth op-eds on this blog.

Authenticity, Self Awareness- I’ve said before that I never changed who I was in high school despite what I went through. I’m happy that I’m still myself today, even if I come across people who think I’m weird or too whatever. It is because I’ve stayed true to myself that I’ve had the other quirk theory traits admired.

I’m not going to say “it gets better.” To me, this statement implies that your entire life will always be full of happiness after high school. In fact, I’ve had to fight depression in community college. Although I’ve beaten it, I haven’t completely accepted myself yet. However, I’m still here and I’m slowly working toward my inner peace.

Instead of saying “It gets better”, I’m going to say, “It will be okay.” It may take some time to be that way. If you keep being yourself and be willing to live and share yourself with others, then you can make it.

Here is a song that keeps me strong; I hope it and my personal testimony can help others do the same.

Written by Serena Zola

May 16, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Poem Spotlight: “To This Day” by Shane Koyczan

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For National Poetry Month 2013, I’ve decided to spotlight the poem “To This Day” by Shane Koyczan. I saw the animated video made for the poem first, then I read the poem to myself via Shane Koyczan’s website. Both times, I was emotionally moved as a poet and as a person.

My heart ached at certain stanzas because of my own experience with being bullied. I felt that he reflected my feelings and the feelings of other bullying victims in an honest, raw, and poignant manner. Of course, this is probably because the poet himself was a victim of bullying.

I love certain lines in this poem, especially the metaphors. Likening bullied victims to “lobster clawed boys and bearded ladies”  and “abandoned cars” was really good. Also, the way he positioned the lines and spaced the stanzas made it seem like he was giving a speech rather than just reading poetry. It is a powerful way to get the reader’s attention.

By putting his experiences into the poem along with an uplifting message, Koyczan has shown bullying victims that they are not alone and that they can survive what they are going through. I strive to have this same impact with my work someday, so this poem was very inspirational for me.

Feel free to share this poem with others.

Written by Serena Zola

April 8, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Bullying and Me: The Full Story

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Authoress Note:  There will be some profanity on this post. It is not because I enjoy cursing, but because the people around me involved in my experiences do.  Also, names have been changed to protect identity.

   *****

  Kids will be kids.

Words are just words.

Just ignore it.

Not everyone is going to like you.

These are a few things that I’ve heard to excuse bullying when I was being bullied as well as today when bullying is brought up in the news. As if  bullying is dust can be brushed away. It is not that easy.  I’ve mentioned my experience being bullied before on previous youth op-eds, saying that I got called “ugly” and “retard” for making good grades. That is not even the half of it.

My bullying experience started one day during lunch in 10th grade. I was almost finished eating when a girl’s voice called my name. I turned to see Nadia and her friend Nikki staring at me.

“Give me some candy!” Nadia snarled.

Turning back to my food, I said in a calm, firm voice, “No.”

“Ugly ass.” Nadia hissed as Nikki giggled. Throughout 10th and 11th grade, Nadia and Nikki were my enemies and they took the time to tease me whenever they felt like it. It sucked because they were in three of my six classes that I had.

In addition to Nadia and Nikki,  I had boys and girls who teased me in Literature & Composition class in 10th and 11th grade. They made fun of me because I liked reading and made good grades. It really hurt me because it was my favorite subject  and enjoying it subject was just a part of who I was.

Another thing that stung was that none of my classmates who were bystanders stood up for me. They probably didn’t want to be bullied themselves, but their inaction felt just as bad as getting teased.

When you have some people tease you and nobody sticks up for you, you end up thinking that no one cares about you.

I wanted to scream “You don’t know me!” at the jerks. Yet, I couldn’t. Any huge disruption in the class resulted in my teacher giving everybody essays. Sometimes, we got two or three in one class period. Despite what my classmates thought, I hated doing them.

All the bullies mentioned have one thing in common: they were black. It is not cool for black kids to be smart. If you really get noticed for it like I did, then you’re in trouble. In middle and high school, it isn’t cool for anyone to get noticed for being smart. Yet,  for young minorities, it is considered taboo because they aren’t portrayed as smart in society that often. Just look at television and the news  if you don’t believe me.

Looking back, I probably wouldn’t have been so affected by bullying if I hadn’t been so insecure before the bullying started. Since 9th grade, I was extremely aware of how different I was from other black girls. Instead of shopping, I enjoyed playing video games. Instead of listening to rap and R & B, I enjoyed alternative rock and soundtrack music.  Instead of watching BET, I enjoyed watching cartoons  from Japan.

I had a hard time making friends, especially with other girls. Before the bullying started, I’d managed to make one new friend that was female and different like I was. However, the bullying still hurt me  because I felt like an outsider among my own race. You see, the friend I’d made wasn’t black; she was a Mexican girl named Rose.

I didn’t tell any adults about being bullied because I’d figured no one would understand. Most teachers wanted to leave disruptions outside the classroom and focus on learning. My parents were a slightly different story. My mother wanted me to tell her so she could talk to the teacher. My father told me how he was bullied and how he became strong.

I didn’t want the bullying to go away. In fact, I knew it wouldn’t go away even if I had told someone, because one bully is easily replaced by another.

I only wanted to know that it was okay to be different, that it was okay to be myself. I also wanted to know that it was possible for some people who don’t know me to accept me.

In order to become strong in the face of bullying, you need a good foundation of self-esteem. That foundation should be made by the parents from the very moment a child is born. My mother, as good as she can be, had been making me feel like I wasn’t good enough.  My father did his best to empathize with me, but his praise wasn’t enough.

While I felt smart at school, I felt like a stupid failure at home. To compensate for the approval I didn’t get at home, I worked harder than I usually did at school. I had always made the honor roll at the end of the semester, but now I wanted to make an A or B throughout the semester on everything.

The combination of bullying at school and emotional stress at home started to make me depressed in 10th grade. The following year, it felt like I was being bullied more often because of the pressure teachers were putting on students to pass the graduation tests. My school and many others needed to make a successful academic yearly performance in order for the county to keep its accreditation. As a result of the added pressure, I became even more depressed and hated the school’s guts. Were we just tools to be used to make the school look good?

The cracks in my resilience came the night before I turned sixteen. My mother told me goodnight and that I couldn’t do anything right even though I was sixteen. The following day after school, I wrote in my journal that I wanted to die. If I was nothing more than a freak at school and a failure at home, then what was the point of living anymore?

I spent the rest of that year trying very hard to answer that question with hope. It was a blur of depression and suicidal thoughts like me jumping off a freeway pass. I hadn’t written anything since my sixteen birthday. To cease writing when it had given me freedom to express myself  was a  sign that I had truly given up on life.

I had decided to kill myself on New Year’s Day so I could truly experience the feeling of a new beginning. Only problem was, I didn’t know how. I had been spending the holidays at my sister’s apartment so I was unfamiliar with what could be used to end my life. I wanted to jump of the roof of the building, but didn’t know how to get there.

Then I realized I had a headache from thinking too hard and a very small voice told me how it would suck to kill myself and make my family sad. Therefore, I told my sister and my mother about my feelings. I still didn’t want to live, but I didn’t want to make people sad either.

My sister empathized with me somewhat, but  my mother couldn’t. She had tried changing the way she communicated with me for a day or so, but soon fell back into her old habits. I was still depressed, but because I cared about making my family happy, I trudged on. Then, something happened that brought my spirit back to life a little more.

During a Spanish class in my junior year, a loud argument had broken out between Nadia and another boy named Kerry. It had caught the attention of the entire class. I never found out why they were arguing because Kerry’s next words had me stunned.

“DUCK ASS HOE!” he screamed at Nadia over and over.

She stared down at her desk forlorn, looking the same way I felt when I got bullied. Kerry noticed her expression and said cruelly, “Yeah, go ahead and cry!”

At that point, my teacher intervened and kicked Kerry out. I hadn’t stood up for Nadia  because I didn’t know what to say. I was still staring at her, feeling a mixture of pity and confusion. I’d hadn’t considered her or my other bullies human until that moment. Why was this happening to me and Nadia?

Obviously, I couldn’t ask Nadia that. She may have gone from being the bully to being a victim, but she still didn’t like me. In fact, I divined that she had been bullied before she ever met me. Therefore, she probably felt as mistrustful as I did when I was being bullied.

To find answers, I started reading our city’s teen newspaper. The newspaper featured news stories, personal essays, and artwork from inner city teens. I wanted to see if there were stories on bullying that were similar to mine or Nadia’s.

There were two that caught my attention. One story was by a girl who had been bullied since grade school and started dressing provocatively and using profanity in high school so no one would tease her. It worked, but she didn’t like the way she had no self-respect. Eventually, she started being herself again and found new friends who assist her in raising her self-esteem.

The other story was by an intelligent black boy who wished that more of his black peers would reach their full potential. He explains how his classmates would tease him about using SAT level words and how ignorant and degrading they were being by dressing in hip-hop styles and addressing each other with profanity.

Just then a soft, teenage boy’s voice in my head created an epiphany. It said, “Things are rough all over.”

The voice belonged to Ponyboy Curtis, the main character of the classic coming-of-age book The Outsiders. I’d been in love with that book since I’d first read it in middle school, but I never realized how much it applied to my life until the Spanish class incident. Like Ponyboy, I had a huge lesson to learn about people.

My bullies were just people who wanted to be accepted just as much as I did. They were doing a bad thing for a good reason because they saw no other alternative. They expect little of themselves, because other people do. In order to stand up for themselves and make themselves feel better, they turned to bullying.

Upon realizing this, I forgave my bullies and vowed to hone my writing skills so that I could creatively and realistically tell my side of things. I still had other demons to fight off and they would eventually break me again in college. However, I took some pride in knowing that I had survived bullying.

Since I graduated from high school, I have read many tragic stories involving bullying. In fact, it seems almost every week I hear of a bullycide (i.e. suicide due to bullying) via the blog Ronkempmusic. Some of kids were bullied even worse than I was, because I was NEVER cyberbullied. Nonetheless, I’ve struggled for many years trying to find the perfect words to explain my feelings.

The truth is no one is perfect.  We all make mistakes, some bigger than others. No one is ever all good or all bad. It is not right for bullies to torment others, but it is also not right to label bullies as monsters as I once did.

Furthermore, it is important for bystanders to try to do something if they witness bullying. Even in my stunned state, I could have yelled, “Shut up!” when Nadia was getting teased. It would have been awkward, but it might have been life saving too. After all, Nadia could have been pushed over the edge like I was and killed herself, leaving me  feeling guilty and still confused.

Thankfully, I saw Nadia again my senior year. She transferred out of a class I was in, it seems she still didn’t like me, but that was fine. At least, it provided closure; I was never bullied again by anyone.

I end my story with one last lesson for those being bullied. Throughout my torment, I never ceased being myself. I kept reading,  making good grades, and doing whatever made me happy. It annoyed the heck of my tormentors, but it was sweet revenge sometimes.

In the words of  The Outsiders’ author S.E. Hinton, “Stay gold.” You may get dented emotionally for being yourself, but don’t let who you are get eaten away. Stay gold.

Written by Serena Zola

March 5, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Posted in Youth Op-Eds

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3 Things To Survive Bullying

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Since the beginning of October, I’ve known that it is National Bullying Prevention Month. I wasn’t planning on posting anything because I wasn’t sure what to say. After all, I’ve already told my story about being bullied in an opinion editorial.

Then today, I heard about Amanda Todd and the Youtube video she made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOHXGNx-E7E&feature=share

Her story has to be the most tragic case of bullying and suicide I’ve read yet. Not only did she die way too soon, she also never got what she really needed to overcome her pain and live. Based on what I saw in the video Amanda made and my own personal experience, here are three things that can help young people survive bullying:

  1. Support– When I say support, I mean mostly from friends AND family. Parents are a must, but having supportive friends shows that there are some peers your own age that like you and that not everyone is out to get you. It angers me that Amanda didn’t have good friends around when she needed them. In addition to support given by people, there are resources you can use to get help and music and books that can provide comfort. 
  2. Acceptance- If you like yourself even a little bit, then that will help you develop a resilient spirit. When I was bullied, I didn’t have much pride in myself, but I preferred being myself instead of being like everyone else. Furthermore, I knew that there were a few people who liked me for me. All Amanda knew is that some idiots liked her for her body and that and the lack of peer support led to her suicide.
  3. Empowerment- Ultimately, the support and acceptance combined should let you know that you have control over your life. The support I had and the small bit of self-acceptance I had allowed me to graduate high school and survive bullying. Tragically, the same can’t be said of Amanda.

3 Books That Will Comfort Bullying Victims:

  1. The Outsiders This book doesn’t deal with bullying exactly, but the main character Ponyboy feels the same need for acceptance and belonging as bullying victims do.
  2. The Geeks Shall Inherit The Earth This book is non-fiction and it informs the reader how the things that cause them to be excluded in school will benefit them outside it.
  3. On the Fringe– This book is a collection of stories  by well-known teen fiction authors. It will relate to anyone who is treated like an outcast.

3 Songs That Will Comfort Bullying Victims:

  1. The Messenger by Linkin Park-a song of comfort: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6etygnUXIWU
  2. Perfect by Pink- a song of self-acceptance:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BIye98Ryic
  3. Don’t Jump by Tokio Hotel- a rallying song against suicide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axbYQfxqLX8

Suicide Resources:

National Suicide Prevention Site for Youth: http://www.youmatter.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/home/get-help/help-for-you/

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education: http://www.save.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.viewPage&page_id=7049F2F1-C9C4-C392-588484F7906539D6

Written by Serena Zola

October 12, 2012 at 9:10 PM

Op-Ed: 2 Girls VS Bullying

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The school year has barely started and I’m already shocked by two girls and their stories of dealing with bullying. One involves a girl who became Miss Teen USA and the other involves a girl who got free plastic surgery. Of the two, the latter is more thought-provoking.

The girl who went under the knife is called Nadia IIse. According to the article, she wanted the surgery because she was getting bullied for her awkward looks.

I understand how she felt. In high school, I got called “ugly” and “retard” for making good grades and not being a typical black girl. Those words hurt and made me feel really out-of-place, especially among other black students.

In spite of this, I did not change who I was as a person.

I wish Nadia’s parents had talked her out of the surgery instead of giving her permission. I wish they had told her that who she was inside is more valuable than her outer looks.

Despite the fact that the majority of youth culture and the media thrive on people’s looks, there are some people who care about something more. One of those people is Logan West, an 18-year-old who became Miss Teen USA in May.

Logan was bullied for a reason similar to mine in 7th grade; she didn’t “act her skin tone.” Yet, like me, she refused to change herself. Before becoming Miss Teen USA, she became Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen and created the anti-bullying program Bully Proof.

Recently, Nadia IIse started school and was told by some of her classmates that she was beautiful. I hope that her physical transformation doesn’t cause her inner self to change for the worst.

Similar Post:

8 Things to Save a Life Part 1

Written by Serena Zola

August 18, 2012 at 5:15 PM

Op-Ed: Minnesota’s War on Gays

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I was typing up a completely different new post until I came across this article via the Huffington Post: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/one-towns-war-on-gay-teens-20120202

My immediate reaction: ANGER.

How can anyone let these kids feel so bad that they chose to kill themselves?

How can the teachers in the school, who are supposed to be role models for the students, remain neutral on the subject of homosexuality, when showing and teaching tolerance could have prevented these deaths?

How can the others adults and students turn a blind eye to a student crying out for help?

How can some of the adults outside the school judge these poor kids based on stereotypes as well as what others have told them?

More people need a mind of their own and a compassionate heart.  People say, “Children are the future” but with every senseless death like these that future diminishes.

Written by Serena Zola

February 4, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Bullying: The Education Connection

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It seems like every month I hear the news of another young person who has committed suicide due to bullying. I’ve seen many people play the blame game with other people, but what most people don’t seem to realize is that we need to start taking a look at the reasons behind bullying.

From my personal experience of being bullied as well as my own research, I’ve concluded one single reason for bullying: being different.

This can have many definitions, but it can be narrowed down when defined by things such as:

  • race or ethnicity
  • gender
  • religion
  • economic status

When these things trickle down to grade school students and cause being different or not to be defined by just two things: being popular or unpopular.  For example, I was bullied because of something considered unpopular among minority students: making good grades.

Until recently, these things were considered harmless categorizes that would disappear after high school ended. Today, some kids aren’t living that long because they believe that just because some people say that they are unpopular in school, they will be unpopular to everyone later on.

So, what’s exactly sending this message?

There are three things that a grade school student is influenced by:

  • the parents and other adults
  • the peers
  • the mass media

Depending on what environment the student is exposed to, they can be influenced by one, two, or all three of these things.

When a child is just a child, the person who has the most influence on them is the parent. Once a child enters puberty, the peers and the mass media enter as the child starts to figure out who they are and who they want to be.

In my case, my parents raised me to think that an education is the most important thing. As a child, I was perfectly fine with that because my peers still saw each other as nothing more than classmates. As a preteen and adolescent, I began to have a need to find myself and find a place among my peers because it seemed like everybody was categorizing themselves in order to identify themselves. You were either “popular”, or “unpopular” depending on how you represented a certain thing like gender or race.

While I was going through this, I realized that the mass media was partly responsible for the popular or unpopular way of thinking. My black minority peers did what they saw on television or heard on the radio, dancing the latest hip-hop dances and dressing provocatively or “gangster”. Since the mass media made these things seem “cool”, my peers thought that by doing these things that they would be cool then and in the future. As they did this, they dumbed down on their studies because “cool people” didn’t care about an education.

For a while, I listened to hip-hop and R & B because I felt I had to. After all, that’s what most of my black peers were doing and to do otherwise would make me an outcast. As a result, I felt fake and miserable for about a year.

At some point, I realized that if making good grades already made me weird then why be so concerned about doing other things that made me weirder if I enjoyed it? Why care too much about what others think?

After that, I became friends with a Mexican girl who introduced me to rock music, which I discovered I enjoyed. Like me, she also made good grades, but she didn’t care about what others thought and taught me to be the same.

Besides my peers, my teachers and parents also had good and bad effects on me. Some of my teachers and one of my parents encouraged my writing ability and praised me for my good grades. On the other hand, the other parent and other teachers made me feel like my best wasn’t good enough.  This was especially done when I had to please others instead of myself.  Consider a quote from a seventh grader from an online article from TIME magazine about “No Child Left Behind”:

“If I hadn’t passed the [state tests] I would have cried and thought, ‘Why are people smarter than me? Why am I not smarter?’ Sometimes I cry because there is so much pressure. I do try to do my best, but sometimes I get an answer wrong.”

Everyone around a student needs to support them well by teaching them that their best is good enough, that who they are is good enough, and find things outside the typical knowledge that supports this, things like this article. If we shared more things like this with people who can relate, then we can make a positive difference.

Written by Serena Zola

January 21, 2012 at 2:00 PM

8 Things to Save a Life Part 2

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In honor of Jonah Mowry as well as all the victims of bullycide, I have created a two-part post featuring songs and books that can be used to comfort any suicidal or bullied person. However, these posts are especially for children and teens.

Since part one featured the songs, this second part will feature the books.

The Geeks Shall Inherit The Earth by Alexandra Robbins

Many teens are bullied because they are different from most of their classmates. Some of them resort to suicide because they believe they will suffer the same treatment all throughout their life. With this non-fiction book, the author presents what she calls “the quirk theory”, which states that the things that cause them to be bullied in high school will be the things that people appreciate later in life. To support this theory, the author follows several real characters that are ostracized for being different and issues them a challenge to change their situation without changing who they are. In addition, the author features celebrities that were outcasts in high school before they were famous.

On the Fringe edited by Donald R. Gallo

This book features several stories by many prominent young adult authors. These stories tell what it is like to be an outcast, to be excluded for being different. Some of these stories are hopeful, while others are shocking, but all of them have a lesson to be learned.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Leviathan

This fiction book tells the story of one gay teen and one straight teen who share the same name and what happens when they meet. A humorous yet serious story featuring love and friendship, this is a great book for anyone.

Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler

Another thing that teens may resort to when bullied is self-injury. Jonah Mowry did it and so does the main character in this book. After a humiliating bullying incident, Melissa Miller accidentally creates a fatal wound while cutting herself with a razor. However, when Death comes he offers her the chance to become War, a Rider of the Apocalypse. When Melissa Miller takes the job, she slowly learns something that helps her conquer her pain: control.

Written by Serena Zola

December 16, 2011 at 10:45 AM

8 Things to Save a Life Part 1

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This week I’ve been shocked by some tragic and happy news involving teens.

The happy news involved the support of Jonah Mowry, a gay teen who posted a heart-wrenching YouTube video this past August about his experiences with bullying. Recently, he has done an interview with Good Morning America about his ordeal.

The tragic news involves the death of Jacob Rogers, a gay teen who recently committed suicide due to bullying.

When I heard about the death of Jacob Rogers and the support of Jonah Mowry, I wondered what would have happened if the two had known about each other. Personally, I think that if Jacob Rogers had seen Jonah Mowry’s video, he would have gained the will to live and known that he wasn’t as alone as he felt.

In addition, I’m reminded of the things that gave me the most comfort when I felt lonely as a teen: music and books.

As a special gift to anyone, but especially any teen or child, who has been bullied or felt suicidal, I present in a two-part post, four songs and four books for comfort. I’d also like to dedicate these songs and books to Jonah Mowry and all the victims of bullycide (suicide due to bullying).

First, the songs:

Make It Stop by Rise Against

 

Don’t Jump by Tokio Hotel

 

Perfect by Pink

 

Beautiful by Christina Aguilera

STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO.

Written by Serena Zola

December 10, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Best Book of 2011

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For the first time ever, here is my pick for the best book of the year: The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth by Alexandra Robbins. It is a non-fiction book about popularity and outcasthood in high school as well as what the author calls “the quirk theory”. We’ve all heard of mean-girls, jocks, nerds, and teen angst so often that it has become the norm. Recently, a new phrase is giving these terms more meaning: bullycide, suicide due to bullying. These days, most people seem to think it is only gay teens that are being bullied or worse, that any kid being bullied should just ignore it because “kids will be kids”.  As a person who has experienced bullying, I know that the only way to “ignore” bullies is surrounding yourself with supportive friends. In the case of gay and straight teens being bullied, bullycide has occurred because they either feel that they are alone or they actually are alone in what they are going through. This feeling of loneliness can be the result of being excluded at school or feeling alienated because they are different from other classmates.

Taken from the author’s site:

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth follows several real teens who are different from their classmates:

  • Danielle, The Loner, who has withdrawn from classmates since they persuaded her to unwittingly join her own hate club
  • Whitney, The Popular Bitch, a cheerleading captain both seduced by and trapped within her clique’s perceived prestige
  • Eli, The Nerd, whose differences cause students to laugh at him and his mother to needle him fornot being “normal”
  • Joy, The New Girl, determined to stay positive as classmates harass her for her mannerisms and target her because of her race
  • Mark, The Gamer, an underachiever in danger of not graduating, despite his intellect and his yearning to connect with other students
  • Regan, The Weird Girl, who battles discrimination and gossipy politics in school but leads a joyous life outside of it
  • Noah, The Band Geek , who is alternately branded too serious and too emo, yet annually runs for class president.

 

All these teens are given a challenge in the middle of the school year to change their circumstances without changing who they are. By doing this, they will prove the quirk theory, which states that the qualities that cause them to be ostracized in high school will be the qualities that people admire in college and beyond. While the reader follows the characters, they will also be given a look at the science behind popularity and outcasthood as well as famous people who demonstrate the quirk theory. Whether you are a parent, teacher, or a student, anyone who is involved with teens should read this book.

Written by Serena Zola

November 19, 2011 at 11:59 PM

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