Challenge #02333-F143: This is How a Heart Breaks BacksteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  4 months ago 


Human teenagers had terrible lives in their intergalaxy school. When humans joined to Galaxy Alliance they're started to sending their children to schools on other planets. Well... Teenagers have been harassing and bullying without any kind of defence because "humans will always be barbarians and if they do something to someone is abuse and they should be held in cages like animals". One time some Havenworlder starts to offend [name]. He choose wrong person. This was last time that anyone tried to piss of human teenagers. -- Anon Guest

Integration is always a rough time. Just ask Ruby Bridges[1]. Of course, in the intervening centuries, assorted people have become more... subtle... about ostracising the different.

Imagine coming into a group of peers, every day, and having them feign being afraid of you. Imagine being unable to tell that they are feigning those fears. Imagine being singled out of shared classes because your mere presence causes upset. The teachers do not want to teach you. The administration wants to get rid of you, to shunt you away and declare integration a failure. They want to blame you, because you are the newest factor and the change is in correlation to your presence.

Imagine trying to handle all this at four years of age. Imagine continuing to handle it from there to the age of fourteen, when hormones and growth patterns both begin to do things to the body, to the brain, to the mind and heart and soul. Imagine all those stresses for an otherwise kind and gentle soul who has nevertheless held out hope against the face of it all that they could still make friends, in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

Imagine being fourteen and a half, having your own body turn against you, facing another day of continued shenanigans from your surroundings, and tripping over a misjudged distance between oneself and the furniture. Imagine the laughter. Imagine an otherwise respected and loved teacher, one who was far less cruel than everyone else, casually saying, "Wreck the whole school while you're at it, Barbarian."

What would you do?

For Barbera Menanis, it was the last straw. She curled up where she had fallen and burst into tears, wailing like an infant.

They had expected her to react like the legends. They had expected her to go on a very Human rampage. Wiping out civilians. Destroying the community. Extracting the apocryphal pound of flesh from everyone who had insulted her.

What they got was a Human reacting as if they had broken her bones.

Nobody around her knew what to do. Panic ensued. Comms were opened. The other children, lost and afraid, went into their home rooms and waited, listening, for any kind of news. Now they knew what being afraid of and for a Human was like, it wasn't such a fun game any more.

Eventually, a school assembly was called. Staff, students, and one of Barbera's parentals, all in one room, to hear an important message.

"Physically," announced the Parental. "Barbera is fine. Not that any of you cared about that until today. Emotionally? Emotionally... what you just witnessed has been what we, her family, have been witnessing every evening. Our Barbera is a brave girl. She kept hoping, kept trying, to add you to her... her friends... to join with you with our pack-bonding faculties, for nine... years. Nine years of day in, day out fecal matter from the lot of you. Nine years of nobody trying to be as nice to her as she was to you. Nine. Years. Of daily verbal abuse, hate, and fear. Nine! Years! Nine years of alleged professional educators missing the point. Nine years of you not being taught how Humans like us work because it was easier to run on old prejudices. Our family means to sue this school, all educators, and all the families of all the students for those nine years. From each and every one of you."

The ripple of realisation turned into a tsunami of growing horror. Some families would have to eliminate their entire savings. Some families would be working off their debt for a decade.

The parental waited for the murmuring to die down. "Some of you will blame us for waiting this long. Some of you will blame us for sending her back here. Every day. We had no choice. You had the choice. You had the choice to put aside prejudice, you had the choice to make a friend. You had the choice to actually heed your lessons on non-violence and peaceful interaction, but you didn't. Now you pay the price."

All because they refused to even try and accept a child.

All because prejudice was easier than acceptance.

They would learn, thanks to Barbera's parentals. They would learn... because that was what schools were for.

[1] You still can at the time of this writing. The age of overt racial prejudice has yet to end, and she is still alive to tell the tale.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / sabphoto]

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Those parents are game, I would have pulled mine out a long time ago. But the revenge is so very sweet.

It's difficult when the school is literally the only game in town, they're legally obligated to keep going until there's definitive proof, and the entire Alliance is watching and waiting for one little Human to fail.

Ruby Bridges couldn't pull out of her racist-ass school. Neither could Barbera.

  ·  4 months ago (edited)

If homeschooling isn't allowed never mind fully supported at that stage then they definitely haven't advanced at all XD

ps - though if they were trying to prove integration would work I guess there's always going to be casualties somewhere along the line which really sucks.