My Year Under a Soviet-trained Teacher

 I don't think anyone can argue that Ms. Gomez' 5th grade class at Pura Belpre 64x was not well-organized. In naval parlance, the woman ran a smooth, unquestioning ship. I remember sitting next to Rosibel, who decided to grab my eraser without asking. I said, "hey, that's my eraser!" and grabbed it back. Ms. Gomez stood up and gave me detention; "You should have raised your hand and told me," she said.

The school had rolled out a brand-new detention system that day, and Ms. Gomez needed to show the rest of the class how strict and ruthless she was. When I left school that day, my father was already waiting for me in the school parking lot that doubled as a playground and assembly area. I didn't think much of the fact that my father was waiting angrily for me there, but it later became apparent that Ms. Gomez called that mentally-challenged man -- plucked him from his labor as a supermarket bagboy, where he worked 10-12 hour days -- and informed him that I had committed a serious offense meriting detention. She didn't specify, so he wasn't aware of the exact details of the incident [but that wouldn't be a defense in court.]

When my father and I arrived to our roach-infested apartment, he withdrew his belt and brutalized me with all his might and for several minutes. I hyperventilated on the floor next to a roach, and was forced to wear a long-sleeved turtleneck to school for almost two weeks in order to hide the scars on my neck and arms. Either Ms. Gomez was incompetently blind to the fact that I had been severely abused, or she approved of the abuse.

Everyday after that brutal beating, I harbored nothing but hate and resentment for... Rosibel. It is only now as an adult living outside of a culture of violence that I can recognize clearly the despicable and disgusting human being that I would be today if Ms. Gomez and my father had a few more years with me. Perhaps I would be the kind of individual that comes back to destroy your life in 10, 20 years when you least expect it; but it's a good thing I'm not that kind of individual. After all, I come from a line of long-lived men; I have a long, medically-healthy future in front of me, so I have to think ahead.

Yea, Ms. Gomez' class was strict, but I learned a lot since no one disrupted the class, and by the end came to enjoy it. I really enjoyed Ms. Gomez' fond stories about her time in the Soviet Union as a Dominican foreign-exchange student. By the end of the year, I and the rest of the class had already developed Marxist inclinations. She once said admiringly of her Soviet counterparts: "they were sooo white," her Dominican subservience to whiteness inculcating the whole class. With that statement that she made in mind, I don't think she went to the USSR because she was a communist; she went because it was convenient and she clearly believed Trujillista ideals about whiteness.