Monday, November 28, 2011

So...Ninth Grade...

As I've mentioned so many times before, I spent five years in high school, beginning with eighth grade. That first year was filled with a few bumps and a few life lessons, which I took with me into ninth grade. Any of you who are female, or who have ever lived in a household with females knows that teenage girls go through a "bitch phase". Some women never outgrow it, hahaha!!! Luckily, I did. Now I only engage in selective bitchery ;-). Back then, I thought I knew everything. I also thought it was funny to talk smack about fat people and people that weren't particularly attractive. Although I would never say anything to these people's faces, my friends and I would still say things behind their backs. Thinking back on it now, I'm very ashamed of my misguided attempts to fit in. You would think that after I was picked on in eighth grade for not being "black enough" that I would be more tolerant, but no, the ignorance of youth won out.

There is one major thing that happened when I was in ninth grade that set a precedent at my high school. In ninth grade I took a biology class. Of course biology always involves the dissection of something. Since it was ninth grade biology, we had to dissect a frog. Now I'm someone who doesn't believe in that sort of thing. I don't see the point of killing a bunch of little frogs just so they can be cut open by high school kids. Initially there was someone else besides me who objected. Her parents are very big on the environment and they worked toward going green before it was cool. Because that girl didn't want to dissect, she was told that an alternate assignment would be provided. Once three other students, all black females (one of whom was me), decided they didn't want to dissect the frog, the offer of an alternate assignment was rescinded and we had to go to the principal's office. That trip to the principal's office was an interesting one. She tried to make us feel guilty because we were the advanced students and didn't want to do the assignment. She also told us that if we didn't do the dissection, we wouldn't get a college preparatory seal on our diplomas. Of course we were too young and unworldly to know that in the grand scheme of things a college prep seal didn't mean  jack shit, but adults in positions of authority know how to get over on kids.

Once we returned to the classroom, we were told that we'd each have to join one of the groups that was performing the dissection and participate. I joined the group of two guys that I knew, and was crying the whole time I sat there watching them. One asked me if I was okay and of course my response was no. After that incident, it was mandatory for the curriculum for ninth grade biology to include an alternative to dissection. I was a pioneer and didn't even know it. I actually didn't find out until the following year when my 10th grade chemistry teacher told me. And on a side note: To this day I love frogs. I buy and wear frog jewelry :-).

I know for a fact that my ninth grade biology teacher was a racist. As I said before, she offered the white girl an alternate assignment, but as soon as there was a black contingent, she wasn't having it. As further proof that she didn't like me in particular, toward the end of the school year we had to pre-register for the next year's classes. The only chemistry class that fit into my schedule was the advanced one. Of course that's the one I should've been taking anyway, but she tried to keep me out of the class. Her exact words were "There are certain people that I  have  to give this class to." That's complete and total bullshit! She just didn't want to give that class to me. Eventually, she had to put it on my schedule, but I know it really ate her up to do so.


  1. What a horrid woman. She had no business being in the school system. The other sad thing is that some people think that this sort of thing doesn't happen anymore. But it does and it is shameful.

    I always knew you were a radical Michelle. I dub thee the frog savior!!!

  2. That horribulz purrson I wud likes to skratch her with mai sharp sharp clawz...

  3. Maybe you should've dissected that biology teacher. heh heh