In my own words I would say Lawrence Otis Graham lived in a different time period then we do now. What he interpreted as racism in fact in my opinion is what we today would call peer pressure. In high school it is hard to find friends. There are o many people to chose from, so many backgrounds and nationalities. If you think about it a high school is just a melting pot of kids under one roof. With that being said it is normal for kids of that age to form friendships and groups known as cliques. Psychologically speaking a human chooses friends to make a companion ship with someone whom they are interested in and feel safe with. Whether it’s the hot girl from PE or the captain of the football team because he’s a jock or a random kid named Edward just because he understands you and is going through the same things you are. Kids tend to form groups known as cliques. Popular cliques in my high school were the “band geeks” or the basketball team, my friends and I were the “Jew Crew”. A person is attracted to where he or she feels comfortable, safe and has fun.
For example a gang is a form of clique many people I’m sure are familiar with. A gang is usually a group of people with similar unfortunate circumstances, who have to deal with life and learn how to survive on the streets on their own. They tend to make groups call gangs to substitute a family. I think naturally the fact that kids are black would be a force of attraction between each other. Coming from the same culture or background creates a lot of room for conversation due to common aspects of these young kids lives being in common. Similarly to my first day of high school when I felt like an outcast alone and isolated and a Jewish teenager came up to me and asked me if I was Russian. That kid today is my best friend. It just goes to show that kids wont make decisions on such a serious note such as racism. In my opinion the black kids didn’t isolate themselves from white kids because of race but probably because they found more in common with their black peers then with that of their white ones.
In the case of Otis, he followed his heart and what felt comfortable to him the same way every other kid at that high school did. The difference is however that when Otis was in High school segregation was common and that thought created tension amongst the kids. Today however is a different world. It is normal for school kids to isolate and form “cliques” or groups that supports itself through similar ideations and lifestyles, which are highly influenced by their cultures, backgrounds or similar circumstance. White kids with white kids, Asians with Asians, pot smokers with pot smokers, gangsters with gangsters, this is what is normal at a high school. Back when Mr. Graham went to high school segregation was still a large influence on high schools. I just feel that the segregation of groups would happen regardless, even back when Graham went to high school the black table who criticized him for being a “Oreo” where sitting together because they shared the same interests and beliefs, no different then how they do today.
That falls into my experience in high school where I as a Jewish teenager hung out with predominantly Jewish kids. We were a family who did everything together. Played basketball in the parks to sneaking out of the house and even cutting class. i liked them because we all had common interest and coming from family’s who are Jewish escaping from Russia we shared a lot, such as culture, religion, language and even in home relations with our parents. We had our own clique as did the Blacks the Asian’s and Athletes. We all interacted with each other and were friendly with everybody but we still stuck together, even at the lunchroom table. It shouldn’t be over thought in general kids want to hang out with kids who they just want to have a good time with.