This is Stacy’s Story:
“I was born in South Korea, came to the states at seven years old. I spent majority of my life in the states. I lived in Fort Worth then moved to a small town called Mineral Wells and continued my middle school education and there onward.
I had a hard a time growing up because racism and never-ending bullying. During the hard times, my goal was to go to UT and make my parents proud. We came to the States w nothing but a vision for a greater life for me and my younger sister. It was incredibly hard for them, to have nothing and come to the US and build a foundation for 20 years.
In High School, no one can relate to me. We were the only Asians and no one in our world wanted to know anything outside of their tiny, little boxes.
I was very naive and quiet… socially awkward. Reason I got bullied, was because the town was very conservative and in the middle of no where. My parents had a business and did well, but i never flaunted what we had. My materials (school supplies, clothes, anything else) were cheap and mostly consisted of savings, yet others assumed I had money and gave me shit for it. Bullying happened because I was different, yet was able to get what I needed. They didn’t accept me.
There was definitely a cultural difference. The town is low class and has a lot of drugs, very poor town with low education. I was bullied because I had a different culture and it was also jealousy because I did well in primary school without much effort. College was different story, I struggled so much with academics and my future. In High School, it was different.
I was in ESL for three years, English is my second language. Before I moved to Mineral Wells, people liked me in elementary. Mainly because I grew up in Fort Worth city. I was surrounded by Blacks, Latinos, Asians. I fit in there.
It was interesting in my small town, seeing minority ‘fit in’ in fear of also being ridiculed by the white population. They ‘acted’ white and ridiculed me also. Which is funny, because our struggles were similar. They had the ‘be with them rather than against them’ mentality. I think the racism I encountered by the white population was mainly because my family was stable despite the trouble, we were grounded and had a good future in terms of education. The town was poor, but my parents sacrificed so much. They also gained a lot to help us achieve an education.
My reaction to bullying: I went into my shell and it hindered me when I was younger because I was ultra-sensitive. Got made of for my real name (Seung yeon), things a child shouldn’t ever have to go through. How awful is it to deal with being made of for something I had no control over?
I was able to overcome the hardships and it made me grow because at home I had a solid family foundation. It obviously hurt my folks, but we stuck together, along with my little sister.
My sisters class was different, they liked her. They thought of her as ‘fascinating’ because she was unique and the ‘girl from a different country’.
In middle school, people were nice but spread rumors. Shit like ‘she told this person this’, childish things and I was the target.
What hurt me most: this one girl everyone disliked got popular, she then made people turn their backs on me. I never talked shit or looked down on her. It’s almost like her subconscious needed to place blame on someone else (me) to take the target off her back and keep her popularity.
I tried laughing with them than be laughed at, but it got old. I was bad at confrontation and showed me emotions too much. Me crying easily was a joke to them.
Now at 26, those experiences helped me realize some things you can’t take too serious and how to protect myself from those experiences again. I’m better at standing my ground but still am ‘very weak and sensitive’. It helped me not judge people by the book and get to know them. Because I had that happen to me. I was that girl, so I try not engage in the same rude behavior.”