Teaching By Example


You think you're being clever

But you aren't.

World history. Tenth grade. Remember that?

Because I do.

We're reading the textbook in class, 11th century Europe.

Specifically the Netherlands.

There's a sinking feeling in my stomach

When you read the word "dike".

And here it comes-

Direct eye contact.

"You'd know all about that wouldn't you?"

I can feel my classmates eyes

They think it's hilarious

The adrenaline hits

But I don't run

I can't

I just sink lower in my seat

Their laughter hurts.

You don't do anything about it

Because you started it

And you're proud of your joke at my expense.

But would you still be proud

If you knew how much I fought to say those words out loud

To admit to a bloodthirsty world that I'm gay?

Are you still patting yourself on the back

When my friends who used to compare bras

Shy away from me in the locker room?

Are you still sleeping well at night

When I am no longer invited to sleepovers

Because of stupid misconceptions

That you're perpetuating

With that smug little smile

Just thinking about your own damn reputation

Not worried about mine.

But here's the thing.

I can't go run to a teacher

Tell them what the bully said

Because you are one and the same.

My teacher, the bully.

You're doing a great job of it too.

Teaching by example.

Generation Y under your tender hand.

Growing up thinking it's okay

To pick on the minorities

Because after all, isn't that what makes jokes funny?

So go on ahead, but know this

The hurtful words you say

The ones that you think are funny

Have a much deeper meaning

Those of us who weren't lucky enough to be born like you

White Heterosexual Middle-Class Male - AKA the ruling class

Have thoughts and felings too.



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