Our story begins on the 5th of May in 2004 a day of celebration for many Hispanic cultures, known as Cinco De Mayo. I was getting dropped off at Rialto Middle School for school that day. I get out of the car say bye to my mom and I walk onto campus. I turned the corner to get to my class and all I can see is a massive group of Hispanic students at my school marching across the field holding up their nation’s flags. On the other side of the field there was a nearly identical scene, except it was the African American students at the school. Next thing you know, there are fights going on throughout the school. Me being white, didn’t pick a side but I did think to myself “only in the ghetto”… or so I thought.
For a good portion of my childhood I lived in Rialto and experienced racial confrontations like the story I told you, it was almost always African American against Hispanic people no matter the cause. I had friends of all races, so I always tried to steer clear of the drama. I grew up in a city where there were very few white people and most of my life I was one of a few white kids in class or even the school for that matter. I just thought that it was how California was.
When I was 13, my parents decided to move. The area they decided to move to was known as the High Desert. This was an area about 30 to 45 minutes north of Rialto that had a relatively low population. The town they found a house in is named Phelan and it has a population made up of mostly white people. My parents had told us about the demographic change before we moved. Me and my brothers were dreading it, we grew up around non-white people and did not know what to expect. We thought it would be like on TV where they would all be nerdy lame kids. I can tell you now that I was sure wrong about that.
Soon enough, we were all moved in and I started going to school in Phelan. It was very weird to me going to a school full of white people. Everything was different, the clothing style, the language terms, the way kids acted, what they were into and much more. No one in Phelan was trying to be “gangster” like the kids in Rialto. Instead of wearing baggy clothes and Proclub T-Shirts, the kids wore long black songs Dickies shorts and Metal Mulisha shirts. It was the “bro” style. These white people just wanted to ride dirt bikes and go camping. I never did any of that, so I felt like an alien on a new world. Regardless of all my differences I started to quickly make friends. I learned that a lot of the kids I met were very racist against non-white people.
A few years pass and now I am in high school. I have become popular and my interests have completely changed. I no longer was wearing baggy clothing and dressed more like a “bro” gangster hybrid. The kids who used to ask me “why do you act black?” or “why do you act Mexican” no longer asked me that. Shit, I even got a lot of my friends into wearing Pro Club T-Shirts that were to baggy, I mean hey they are cheap plain colored shirts that are thick. Why not right? At this point, I was a just another white kid who loved dirt bikes and camping. I did learn some things about the white kids I became friends with. They loved to party and fight. My friends and I were also not very interested in school and we screwed around a lot and got in a lot of trouble. There was always drama brewing.
In 10th grade there was a large influx of African American students in my high school soon enough there was racial fights. These fights literally only happened because of race. Many of the white participants were my friends, but I did not get involved because I am not racist. I kept this going for a long time. Things continued to get worse and worse. There was fights almost every day, frequent outburst between the groups of people and general chaos at school. We had police stationed at the school during the day now, and not just one or 2. Usually about 5 or 6. Eventually I got to relive an almost identical scene to the one I told you about in the beginning of my story, but this time I was forced to be involved.
It was another day at school, it was lunch time. Me and my friends were just sitting there when a colored chick decided to start a fight with one of the women in our group. This fight quickly escalated and soon enough there was about 30 white people and 30 black people in groups getting ready to fight each other. We were all (yes, we are including me) were shouting obscenities to each other egging each other on and quick frankly being really terrible kids. Next thing you know it was a full-on riot. There were fights everywhere. It was on of the craziest things I’ve ever seen in my life. So here I was about 5 years later then then first time I seen a school riot. I remember thinking; “I thought this only happened in the ghetto, but I guess not only in the ghetto”. I learned that everywhere you go you will see diversity. Sometimes it can be good, but there are those cases where it can be bad. The kids I made friends with were not used to seeing people of color in their schools, and it turned into a riot. I look back on it now and I still think it is crazy that I went from a white kid growing up in Rialto thinking that white people are near extinct to moving to an area full of white people and seeing how different they are from people who grow up in areas that aren’t predominantly white.