I attended one of the nerdiest schools in the United States, an academic magnet school with a 70% Asian/Pacific Islander student population. Our cheerleaders were Asian, our basketball team was Asian, the goth kids and the hip hop kids were Asian, our homecoming queen was Asian.
When I arrived at this school in seventh grade, I was a tangled mass of perms and bangs and glasses and braces and biker shorts. I was chubby and clumsy, utterly invisible to the in-crowd. Still, I had a strong support network, and I never felt like I couldn’t try something just because of my race.
What I really wanted to be was a cheerleader. In my mind, they represented all that was totally awesome, the epitome of teenage female perfection. I dreamed about one day wearing a uniform of my own, pulling my hair up into a beribboned high ponytail, and bouncing into that smiley sorority.