Don’t get me wrong. I don’t judge. Most of the kids are Mexicans or Indians with a few blacks, Asians and white kids like me, but I’m cool with that. We had a wide racial mix at my old high school and I got along fine with just about everybody. But here, the Mexicans run in serious gangs and the Indians look at me like I’m supposed to constantly apologize for what my ancestors did to theirs, except my ancestors only got to North America in the fifties.

I was online with my best friend Ronnie last night looking for advice, but he just gave me the same drill he did before my parents pulled us out of the good life in Atlanta and dumped us here:

Keep your head down until you get the lay of the land. Don’t make waves, but don’t take any shit.

Today is the first day of week three and I’ve already decided to treat this school like jail. Just keep out of trouble and do my time until I can graduate. Except in the middle of the afternoon I’ve got a hall pass to go to the can and I come across some big Mexican dude pushing around a little Indian girl in the stairwell.

Keep your head down. Don’t make waves.

Sure. Good advice. But you’ve also got to do the right thing.

Hey,” I call to him. “Leave her alone.”

Cold eyes rise to meet mine. I can tell he's memorizing my face. “You going to make me?”

If I have to.”

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