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By Michelle Kuo
Kuo knew that her post-college plan to teach underprivileged students “American history through black literature” in the tiny Mississippi Delta town of Helena went against what her ambitious Taiwanese parents wanted for her. [...] Once in Arkansas, Kuo quickly discovered that her assignment at an underfunded alternative middle school was far more difficult than she had imagined. Most of her students had never encountered an Asian person before, and in her more disillusioned moments, the author found herself thinking that she was just a “cliché [of the] middle class outsider.” Her friendship with 15-year-old Patrick Browning, a quiet young black man in her eighth-grade class, became her saving grace.
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