WRI 1Sect 33
7 October 2014
The White-Washed Effect
Being labeled white-washed has always made me feel like I have to try harder to fit in. My drive to fit in enveloped and took over very important parts of my life. My school life and friendships have been deeply affected by the hurtful terms white-washed, as a result of this I have become increasingly sensitive to the way people think of me.
The literal meaning of white-wash is to paint a wall, building, or room completely white. Using the term white-wash towards a person is quite ironic since people do not paint themselves white. Yet when it is being used it is not meant to be taken so literal that you are painted in white.
The terms white-washed are usually used in society to judge someone’s attitude and the way they act. Being called white-washed can be meant as a joke among friends or as an insult toward a specific person. The way I have experienced these terms was always in an insulting manner.
The first time I was called white-washed was in middle school, seventh grade to be more precise. I was walking to my class after lunch on the first week of school with two of my best friends by my side. I remember wearing my favorite pink flower dress with a white cardigan. My mother had curled my hair and I felt like such a girly girl. There was this group of eighth grade girls who were known to be mean to everyone. On the way to class we passed by where they hung out and it would always make us feel like trapped zoo animals being watched and judged from head to toe.
Just as we were passing them one yelled out to me,
“Look at America the rich white-washed Mexican with her expensive pink dress.” Said the tallest girl of the group.
“She thinks she’s so much better than us just because her family had money.” Replied her friend after she noticed I tried to hold in my anger seconds before tears rolled down my cheeks. I felt so humiliated that I ran to the restroom and called my mother. I told her what happened and how embarrassed I was that I could not remain in school for the next four periods. I asked if she could pick me up early and take me home for the day. She raced to my school and as soon as we got home I ran to my room feeling like an outsider to the rest of the middle school. Everyone now knew me as the white-washed Mexican seventh grader who thought she was better than everyone. Even my friends started to call me white-washed which made my self-esteem plummet and hit the ground harder than ever.
As a result of the incident with the wretched eighth grade girls I became a victim of primary potency all throughout middle school. My classmates only saw me for what I had been categorized as a mean rich white-washed Mexican. I lost the qualities of being a kind, helpful, friendly person and quickly became a conceited stuck up rich girl. To even intensify my association with being white-washed my parents decided to send me to a private catholic high school. This could only make my high school experience one of two things, the time of my life or the worst possible decision I could make in trying to fit in with my friends from public school.
I had heard that my new private catholic high school was mostly filled with Pilipino American students. All the stereotypes about how smart Asian students are filled my mind as if it was instinctual. I was worried that I would be the dumbest one at my school since I was not Asian. I did not realize how much of an unfair hypocrite I was being for judging my soon to be classmates. I had become those mean girls in the hall way from my seventh grade middle school experience. I felt so horrible to think that I was just like those mean girls that had made me feel so low. I promised to keep an open mind from then on about my soon to be high school. I made friends at my new high school and I tried to make them like and accept me as much as possible. I realized that I was capable of making friends