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Old 2010-02-26, 19:04   Link #1
Haruka_Kitten
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Student Culture

Probably another random post of mine, but for some reason, I just had to...

You see, I attend a public high school, and its not far from what the imagination pulls. The tough guys that rule the roost, the girls that just don't seem to care, and me and my friends who struggle to survive in an environment that's just as uninviting as a funeral.

The social ladder thing pisses me off too. I think its a good thing that me and my friends consider ourselves far from it. The cool kids at the top, the nerds at the bottom, and us....somewhere on the side.

I'm thinking of gathering opinions from students of all sorts. From public to private, from primary (elementary) to Uni, from the bottom of the food chain to the gods of the school. Just what's it like being where you are, and how do you do it?
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Old 2010-02-26, 19:27   Link #2
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Well in my experience. The friends I made in High school and people I knew from childhood and are still connected with are the friends for life. I think I just made 2 friends in Uni which I think will be friends in the future as well. Honestly Uni is a horrible place to make friends, since most of them seem to consider their older friends as their only true friends.

Have to say in Uni the whole popularity thing is pretty much gone. Of course you have a few "cool individuals", but at a certain point they'll have matured enough and will mingle with anyone.
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Old 2010-02-26, 19:30   Link #3
yoropa
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I go to a private school. Many people outside it call it "The United Nations School" due to the amount of diversity in it. From this year alone, 2% of student body is an exchange student from overseas. Many of the students maintain ethnic or cultural links to countries outside the US. There is a social hierarchy but it's less emphasized in this school than in public schools. There have been very few incidents of physical violence erupting. The most serious incident here is a guy who stabbed a girl in the neck with a fork, and then was expelled. Compare this to the public school where a guy was beat down a flight of stairs and permanently paralyzed.

I'd say these are the general groups of people you have in my school:
* Theatrical
* Athletic
* General
* Outcast

There is a largely interest in theater than in sports. There is a lot of overlap as well. For example, many people act in a play and play a sport together. I personally happen to fall at the very bottom of the tier. Not only am I not an athlete, but I also am not an actor.

Heck, I'm outcasted from the outcast group. I don't mind since most of the people in said group are REALLY messed up in the noggin'. Most of them have serious ADD or anger issues, and I'm not saying that lightly. There's a number of reasons why people are outcasted:

* They avoid people
* They have ADD so severe that they cannot formulate sentences properly
* They are mentally retarded and have the understanding of a brick
* They are not rich
* They are not white
* They are not American

Take careful note on the rich and white points. Even though the place is diverse, unless you have money to "prove your worth", you will suffer racism. This doesn't mean you must pay the white people, this means that if are not white you are still expected to be on the same level as them or above them in terms of finances. If you are below, you are worthless.

Some foreign exchange students suffer large racism. A lot of German exchange kids who found American culture to be rude (no surprise why) were simply called Nazis (thus proving their point that American culture is rude) and then they were excluded from this high school society. I myself, being a minority, deal with this.

Having said that, note that I won a large majority of the vote to be the Vice President of the senior class, thus the student body. Also note that the President doesn't do crap and I'm the one really in charge here. I wasn't elected because of my social status; I was elected due to the fact that I actually do work.

I just can't really deal with people socially apart from a very small group of other excluded minorities. As such, all my friends are pretty much Asian. And I still get attacked (sometimes by teachers) for helping them create an official affinity group.

In this school, you get beaten psychologically, not physically.
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Old 2010-02-26, 19:49   Link #4
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There is a "social ladder" in high school to some extent. In university it disintegrates. The major reason is that university is much "freer" with regards to interaction, you're not in small classrooms, there's very little forced interaction as there is in high school. So if you're a studious person, you can easily fragment yourself off with other studious people, and if you're one of those people who just want to have "fun"...well, the "studious" and the "fun loving" people will rarely interact.

Since yoropa mentioned diversity Ill comment. My city is very diverse. When I was growing up, in high school, we had barely any problems with ethnicity the way that he is describing, and I don't think there is any high school in Canada that has it that bad. However, there is a tendency for people to form social groups based on their ethnicity. I dislike this. It happens in high school and uni in varying degrees.

As for how I deal with it...I've never really been concerned with where I am on the "social ladder". I just try to find good, smart friends and avoid people I don't like. It's worked fairly well.....
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Old 2010-02-26, 20:11   Link #5
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I go to a public school and I think school is hard just because I'm at the bottom of the food chain. But I eventally got used to all the insults, being pushed in the hallway, etc... Although I do believe I am not at the bottom of the social food chain, everyoneseems to think so. And Because of my interests (I.e. Gaming and anime) people automatically label me as "weak" or "faggot". But I'm in several martal arts and a black belt in tae kwon do, so I think I can defend my self if needed.
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Old 2010-02-26, 20:22   Link #6
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I find it fascinating that such obsolete tropes still linger on after decades.

Keep in mind that many/most of the "roost rulers" in high school -- that's the peak of their lives. Its the geeks and interesting people (the "other" clique) that usually do well in college and life.
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Old 2010-02-26, 20:26   Link #7
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I fail to see how "video gamer" means "faggot." People need to work on their insults. Vulgarity doesn't translate to insulting.

More on the race thing, there's a difference to note between those who threw away their culture and accepted Americanization and those who retained their native one. The only ones affected by racism are those who rejected Americanization. It doesn't matter who you are or where you're from so long as you accept the American ideology, that's how it works. The exchange students who came that accepted the American way got along amazingly well with Americans. Those who could not accept it were tossed away by society. Some of them even returned back home early since they could not take living here.

This one Pakistani girl came here as an exchange student once. Due to her culture she could not deal with the nature of America, and spent the entire year rarely talking to anybody. Nobody approached her, and she didn't approach anybody.

I myself rarely approach people unless I need them for something. That's just how things work I suppose.
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Old 2010-02-26, 20:41   Link #8
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Quote:
The only ones affected by racism are those who rejected Americanization.
Well, first of all, obviously "racism" by the common definition of the word, for any reason is wrong. But at the same time, isn't it pretty obvious that if you decide to move somewhere but are unable to adapt to the culture there, it will be hard to make friends? If I decided to go live in Japan, for example, I know that I won't be making any friends if I don't try to adapt a little to my new surroundings.

In Canada, people are able to hold onto their individual cultures while embracing the broader Canadian identity pretty well (its not always this good, of course) It doesn't seem like an "either this or that" situation, here, at least.
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Old 2010-02-26, 20:51   Link #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theowne View Post
Well, first of all, obviously "racism" by the common definition of the word, for any reason is wrong. But at the same time, isn't it pretty obvious that if you decide to move somewhere but are unable to adapt to the culture there, it will be hard to make friends? If I decided to go live in Japan, for example, I know that I won't be making any friends if I don't try to adapt a little to my new surroundings.
Not quite what I was saying. Exchange students usually are able to fit in nicely but they avoid talking about their heritage much and try to be American. In my case I am a natural born American, but I did not throw away the culture that my parents hold. As such I did not accept the Americanization fully, and thus am viewed as against general American values.

Currently, I'd say the exchange students are more "American" than I am in the eyes of most other "true Americans." There's only one person in my school currently who I would say is less "American" than me, to be fully honest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theowne View Post
In Canada, people are able to hold onto their individual cultures while embracing the broader Canadian one pretty well. It doesn't seem like an "either this or that" situation, here, at least.
This is how it should be, because I still accept the broad idea of America, which most would say is "freedom" but I would say "not being in proximity of dangerous countries that will invade you" since that's the real reason preventing me from returning to what I would consider my ethnic home.

Doesn't help that I have a horrendous accent that impedes my ability to speak English either. ><
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Old 2010-02-26, 21:01   Link #10
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Originally Posted by yoropa View Post
I fail to see how "video gamer" means "faggot." People need to work on their insults. Vulgarity doesn't translate to insulting.

More on the race thing, there's a difference to note between those who threw away their culture and accepted Americanization and those who retained their native one. The only ones affected by racism are those who rejected Americanization. It doesn't matter who you are or where you're from so long as you accept the American ideology, that's how it works. The exchange students who came that accepted the American way got along amazingly well with Americans. Those who could not accept it were tossed away by society. Some of them even returned back home early since they could not take living here.

This one Pakistani girl came here as an exchange student once. Due to her culture she could not deal with the nature of America, and spent the entire year rarely talking to anybody. Nobody approached her, and she didn't approach anybody.

I myself rarely approach people unless I need them for something. That's just how things work I suppose.
Hah!, good one.
Racism and Americanization have nothing to do with one another.
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Old 2010-02-26, 21:04   Link #11
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Originally Posted by Terrestrial Dream View Post
Racism and Americanization have nothing to do with one another.
In my school it does.
See: my posts.
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Old 2010-02-26, 21:09   Link #12
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Originally Posted by yoropa View Post
In my school it does.
See: my posts.
Do confuse Anglo with American. What you are talking about is being white, not being American.
Trust me you could have a friend or people you could hang around with without conforming and express your identity. I did, and I went to high school in Connecticut.
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Old 2010-02-26, 21:16   Link #13
yoropa
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Originally Posted by Terrestrial Dream View Post
Do confuse Anglo with American. What you are talking about is being white, not being American.
Trust me you could have a friend or people you could hang around with without conforming and express your identity. I did, and I went to high school in Connecticut.
I'm gonna try to explain this simply:

Exchange student. European. German. Woman. Blond. White. Does not hide her culture like the other exchange students. Tries to accept both ways. Gets called a Nazi.

Exchange student. Asian. Korean. Man. Hides his culture and accepts American ones. Is accepted by Americans.

That's what I'm talking about here when I talk about my school. It's different from most American schools out there. Racism does not come up if the minority accepts American values. If they don't, then they will do all sorts of things to distance them, which includes going into the book of racist terms and throwing them about.

Do you understand?
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Old 2010-02-26, 21:24   Link #14
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Originally Posted by yoropa View Post
I'm gonna try to explain this simply:

Exchange student. European. German. Woman. Blond. White. Does not hide her culture like the other exchange students. Tries to accept both ways. Gets called a Nazi.

Exchange student. Asian. Korean. Man. Hides his culture and accepts American ones. Is accepted by Americans.

That's what I'm talking about here when I talk about my school. It's different from most American schools out there. Racism does not come up if the minority accepts American values. If they don't, then they will do all sorts of things to distance them, which includes going into the book of racist terms and throwing them about.

Do you understand?
Aright then describe what being American is.
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Old 2010-02-26, 21:30   Link #15
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It's amusing, because America was basically created out of people's from every other country. The only ones who were here first, are the Native Americans, and technically the immigrated here thousands of years ago across the land bridge that connected Alaska and Russia at one time.

The real racists are the ones who like to assume that America is for white, rich, christian people, and thus disparage others. Even though I'm white, my heritage is a bit Swiss, German, and English. And maybe a bit French, because I had some Canadian ancestors before they moved to America.

The United States was built on immigration, and I can point out advances thanks to different ethnic groups here.
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Old 2010-02-26, 21:35   Link #16
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People, like Benjamin Franklin, have tried since before our independence to answer that same question, to no avail, and you expect a guy on the internet who has been shunned by his school's society to be able to make a definitive answer?

Furthermore, if you accept there's a difference between being culturally German and culturally American, then you should realize more so what I'm explaining. Maybe your school didn't behave in this way, it probably doesn't since it's unusual, so you are having a hard time grasping this concept. If you know how foreign countries work culturally, think about the French system. The way my school works is the way the French system works. Your background, ethnically or otherwise, doesn't matter so long as you accept the French way of living, the French way of doing things, and the French national identity, whatever that may be.

If you can grasp that idea you should be able to understand that there is an American culture, or a common American culture, that exists. I'm saying that IN MY SCHOOL and probably only IN MY SCHOOL, racism comes into play if AND ONLY IF said minority strongly acts in a manner that is deemed BY THE GENERAL POPULATION as non-American. IF you are a minority who acts in a way deemed BY THE GENERAL POPULATION as American, chances are you will not face any racism IN MY SCHOOL and probably only IN MY SCHOOL.

Do you understand?
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Old 2010-02-26, 21:38   Link #17
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My high school years were pretty uneventful. I guess I was an 'other', since I wasn't in the popular crowd with the athletes and cool students and I wasn't book smart enough to be considered a nerd. I had friends and acquaintances from both crowds myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yoropa View Post
In my case I am a natural born American, but I did not throw away the culture that my parents hold..
Quote:
Doesn't help that I have a horrendous accent that impedes my ability to speak English either. ><
Did you leave the country and come back or something? I'm just curious.
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Old 2010-02-26, 21:55   Link #18
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Did you leave the country and come back or something? I'm just curious.
Most speech therapists say that I say each word with a different accent, and as such my speech sounds pretty dang weird and unique. I'm think the reason for this is because I hung around a lot of different groups of people when I was still learning the language. I was in a school that had as many black kids as white kids, and ended up exposed to both those accents. Then consider that my kindergarten, mistaking me for being Mexican, put me with all the Spanish speaking children. Then after realizing that was wrong, they relocated me with the Chinese minority. That also didn't work. Then mix in my parents' accents. Then mix all of them together and the solution, which looks like a nasty mix between vomit and urine, is my accent.

To Terrestrial Dream:
I agree that what I say does not apply for 99% of America. I'm in the 1% where it does apply. When looking at America as a whole, I would be COMPLETELY wrong. But for the part I inhabit, I am right. The poster asked for personal stories, so I provided. Perhaps it's time for you to share your side. There's no need to continue this argument, we simply grew up in different parts of the country and are subject to different experiences. I think we both can agree on that.
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Old 2010-02-26, 21:57   Link #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaijo View Post
The United States was built on immigration, and I can point out advances thanks to different ethnic groups here.
I think you're taking a simplified interpretation of the discussion. yoroba said it wasn't the race of the people that determined how they were treated, but more about "identity". You're right that the U.S. has historically been defined by immigration. But it's also true that there was a sense of cultural assimilation going on as well. Enough that there isn't really as much cultural distinction between German-descended Americans and English-descended Americans anymore.

I think this is a topic beyond the scope of this thread, and clearly yoroba is just talking about an extreme case. But in general, even in Canada, where multiculturalism is official policy, there has to be some sort of culture adaptation. I mean, otherwise, it's just "immigration for convenience", and I think that doesn't sit well with a lot of people, for obvious reasons. I immigrated here when I was younger, and my family as well as most of the people I know maintain a balance of their own culture and that of the broader environment. We realize that in many ways, it's a compromise, one that we accepted when we came here.

This is going pretty off-topic from yoroba's post, which defined what sounds to me like a very extreme and very rare case.
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Last edited by Theowne; 2010-02-26 at 22:07.
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Old 2010-02-26, 22:22   Link #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theowne View Post
I think you're taking a simplified interpretation of the discussion. yoroba said it wasn't the race of the people that determined how they were treated, but more about "identity". You're right that the U.S. has historically been defined by immigration. But it's also true that there was a sense of cultural assimilation going on as well. Enough that there isn't really as much cultural distinction between German-descended Americans and English-descended Americans anymore.

I think this is a topic beyond the scope of this thread, and clearly yoroba is just talking about an extreme case. But in general, even in Canada, where multiculturalism is official policy, there has to be some sort of culture adaptation. I mean, otherwise, it's just "immigration for convenience", and I think that doesn't sit well with a lot of people, for obvious reasons. I immigrated here when I was younger, and my family as well as most of the people I know maintain a balance of their own culture and that of the broader environment. We realize that in many ways, it's a compromise, one that we accepted when we came here.

This is going pretty off-topic from yoroba's post, which defined what sounds to me like a very extreme and very rare case.
While I understand that, what I was trying to get across was that America is defined by different cultural identities. We all love our heritage, and where we come from, and identify ourselves different ways... and it's that diversity and differences that make us all the same: Americans.

I know yoropa had troubles in his school, because of stupid people who didn't quite understand what America really is. It wasn't just founded on immigration of different peoples and cultures: It is a mix of different cultures getting along. You can retain who you are, and yet still be an American.
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