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Trying To Reverse Engineer Bigotry

| Learning | March 18, 2014

(I’m 15, a senior in high school, and am taking AP classes that will give me college credits if I pass the test at the end of the year. I’m the only girl in this class and it’s a very hands-on, engineering type class. The normal teacher is out sick and we have a very old, very sexist man as a substitute. I had to drop something at the office and am few minutes late to class.)

Substitute: “Oh, I’m sorry little lady but you must be lost. Cooking is across the hall.”

Me: “That’s hilarious, but I’m not lost.”

Substitute: “Well you can’t possibly be in this class. It’s for boys. So unless you’re here to attract your husband you’ve got no business here.”

Me: “That’s cute, but I’ve got the highest grade in this class and happen to be more interested in the learning material than the other students.”

Substitute: “Sure you are. Well, might as well get to class. No use yanking my chain and keeping me from teaching.”

Student #1: “She really is in this class.”

(The substitute refuses to let me enter the room so I go to the office and explain what’s happening. They tell me to stay and try again tomorrow but the same thing happens. The whole class follows me out the second day and for the two weeks our teacher is out we all sit in the office for that class. Eventually, our regular teacher returns.)

Teacher: “Why don’t you show me the progress you made on the designs while I was gone and tell me what the substitute taught you?”

Me: “We really didn’t get anywhere at all with our projects but we did learn that I’m a lesser person because of my gender, and that the only possible reason I would take this class is to find a husband.”

Student #1: “We also learned that women belong in the kitchen or bedroom, not in the real world. Only men belong in the real world.”

Student #2: “And that we should snatch [My Name] up quick because she’s young and very fertile.”

(That substitute was pretty much forced into early retirement after the superintendent and school board were informed of what had happened.)

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