The human race likes to segment each other into groups, us and them. The conflict between rival gangs drives the plot of the Broadway show and film, West Side Story. The Sharks, are from Puerto Rico and the Jets, are local white kids. In the musical Grease, the conflict is between the T-Birds and Scorpions.
What were the divides and disputes when you were growing up?
A quick review of my Senior class yearbook revealed the minority population of Latino, Asian, and African American students was a whopping 6.835938% (rounded to the millionths place, so it feels like a bigger number). There were so few minorities; the white kids had to develop other ways to segregate. As a result, we self-selected into the standard categories promoted in Disney movies; jocks, brains, cheerleaders, cowboys, and stoners (those that smoked cigarettes behind school). Those that didn't fit into a neat category represented the unidentified mass.
My kids had a different experience. Their high school was 21% white and had a significant impact on shaping worldviews. My daughter cited the need for racial diversity as a primary driver while investigating colleges.
Where did the dividing lines emerge for you? Was it around religious sects, grades, race, after school activities, sexual orientation, socioeconomic gradients, academics, or language?
How did your crowd talk about others? What events drove the groups to break down barriers? Did you work to break the divides down or to reinforce them? How have you grown to appreciate diversity since your high school days? Where have you seen the most change?