I was actually preparing to post a little more about Japan and ASIJ, but then...
Glee came on.
(Who else caught the season opener of Glee tonight? What did you think of the cast additions? I'm excited for this season!)
After watching Glee, I decided to switch up the post a little because I thought it was worthy of discussion. In this episode, we meet Shannon Bieste - a woman coach of the boy's football team, and new to McKinley High. Coach Sylvester convinces Mr. Shue that it's in the best interest of the glee club budget to drive The Beast - as she calls her - away, and sets about in true Sue Sylvester fashion to make Coach Bieste's life miserable.
One scene especially rang uncomfortably true. Sue and Shue refuse to let Coach Bieste sit next to them in the faculty lunchroom, and actually drive the Coach to tears. I know the show's fiction, but still it made me wince. Although I had a group of friends I ate with in the cafeteria back in high school, I remember too well the kind of ostracism and intimidation that could go on at lunch time. Especially to anyone who was new. Or different.
This was especially fresh in my mind since I'd had to dredge up the dark side of my school years recently to write an essay for the upcoming Young Adult Authors Against Bullying anthology. It wasn't pleasant remembering how many students were labeled "outsider" for one reason or another. Not rich enough. Not popular enough. Not cool enough. Not whatever. I was often a label-ee. Sadly, I'm pretty sure there were times I was also a label-er. If someone else is outside, that means we're in, right?
Have you ever been singled out? Have you felt like an outsider? Have you ever - intentionally or not - made someone else feel like they didn't belong? More importantly, what's one specific thing can you do this week to make someone feel "in"?