Still fat

The interesting thing about this story is that as much as it is about discrimination, it's also about how one chooses to perceive oneself. I didn't know Joan, but I was two years ahead of her at PJHS and PHHS, and I was also bussed from Southeast. Funny thing: I experienced more racism from other black students than I ever did from whites. Maybe I just didn't notice because I expected it from white students, but to many of the black students I wasn't black enough. I earned the nickname "the professor" from a kid at my bus stop in 7th grade because I dared to speak proper English (i.e., even then, I "sounded white.") Although I assumed everyone at school knew I was bussed, I don't remember it being nearly as big a deal to my fellow students as it was to me; although internally I felt the sting of being an outsider, to this day, many still express surprise that I didn't live in San Carlos, Del Cerro, or Allied Gardens. But my drive to succeed in life was fueled as much by the enormous homes and exotic cars I saw from the window of the school bus as it snaked up Madra drive as it was a feeling that I could be just as successful as any other kid at PHHS . I made many lifelong friends there who ultimately didn't care what color I was. I went on to study at USC and attended law school at UC Berkeley, and am now a Superior Court Judge (with dreadlocks) for LA County, all because I knew that nothing could limit my dreams except me. My senior quote was "If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it." I wish I could have shared that wisdom with Joan; maybe it could have helped her to avoid some of the pain she allowed others' perceptions to inflict on her. Because it's less about your appearance than your attitude. Much less.
— April 16, 2013 2:59 p.m.

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