In Grade 10 we read the book Black Like Me which is based on the real life experiences of a white journalist who disguised himself as a black man (amazing book, if you haven’t read it you should check it out). Our teacher gave us this assignment, to mirror the experiences the author had in the book we were to go undercover and pretend to be someone else. Our teacher suggested everything from using prosthetics and make-up to pretend you’re elderly to pretending to be a punk-rocker, with the goal of gaining empathy for how society treats that type of person. So I dressed up as a goth or “scarey” and spent the night at the local mall, on the receiving end of strange looks and some seriously poor customer service. (Ironically I later ended up spending much of my twenties hanging out with goths and going dancing at the weekly goth night at the local bar, and no, this was not how I dressed.)
Going through piles of old school papers and other bits of ephemera my mom dropped off by the box load when she moved to her new place and I re-discovered this gem (yes, she moved a year ago, I’m timely like that).
I’m amused that this is still kicking around 25 years later. At some point the accompanying essay was tossed out, but my mom held on to the cover sheet. Photographic proof of my pitiful 15 year old attempt at dressing as a goth, consisting mostly of black nail polish and white face paint. Ohhhh, scary.
What bizarre mementos do you have hanging out in the bins in your closet?