Wednesday, October 14, 1998 / Mehr 22, 1377, No. 583
Beyond culture and race
By Mahtab Kanani
had been young after all, when we had come to the United States, and adjusting was easier for me, I'm sure, than it has been for many. But it took time to no longer feel that I had something to hide, and to finally feel proud of who I was, and actually enjoy the fact that I was not like everyone else. I must have been shy, reserved, for I had kept all of my confusion and shame inside. My parents, who have always been supportive, would have been eager to help, had they been aware of a problem, though I'm sure for them, the adjustment was more difficult and they must have been preoccupied and burdened.
Today, ironically, I teach English at a high school for at-risk students. Despite their troubles, and what may be construed by society as their academic and social failures, my students are quick to stand up for who they are, quick to defend themselves against any attack, whether blatant or subtle. They have, at such a young age, a sense of confidence that I have only acquired in recent years. Some of their confidence and assurance stems from sources that are not so positive, however. They are confident of their ethnic identity often because they live in a community which consists mainly of their own, and they feel the strength and security of numbers, though they are isolated in a way, and sheltered from diversity. They are in gangs with members only of their own ethnicity, and from this they gain a sense of family and identity and confidence... GO TO FEATURE
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