Study Guide

Tangerine Prejudice

By Edward Bloor


The kid in gray checked out my goggles and said, "Yow! It came from Mars!" (1.9.27)

The kid in gray never gets a name throughout the story. He's always the kid in gray. Does he represent something? A certain type of person, maybe?

"I'm sorry, but there's no way we can justify putting a visually handicapped student in the goal, of all places, where he could get his head kicked in"

The way school districts deal with disabilities is worth a look. Are they worried for Paul's safety—or are they just worried about a lawsuit? The Lake Windsor coach sure seems pretty concerned about winning the game when he threatens to get Paul kicked out.

"[The carnival] is low-rent, but it's cool, in a low-rent kind of a way" (1.14.43)

"Slumming it" can be cool for Lake Windsor kids—for a little while, just as long as everyone knows they don't actually belong there.

We passed a cluster of lime green houses made out of cement block. I said, "Check out that color, Mom. You'd better notify the Architectural Committee" Mom was not amused. "This isn't a development, Paul" (1.15.18-19)

Remember Mrs. Fisher's obsession with appearances? Well, she doesn't seem to care how things look outside of her own development. Those poor people can paint their houses whatever hideous color they want.

"Don't talk to them, and don't look at them. […] They have gangs in Tangerine Middle School. They have kids with guns, man. Real gangstas. Some of them have AK-47s" (1.15.40)

Um, yeah. They probably don't have AK-47s at their middle school. Just sayin'. This is a pretty common stereotype—a tough school must have weapons on campus, right? And sure, they're a little tough—but not AK-47 tough. It's kids from Lake Windsor who end up being the violent ones.

I'd say the most obvious difference between my old school and my new one is this: At Tangerine Middle, the minorities are the majority. I have no problem with that. I've always felt like a minority because of my eyes. (2.1.51)

Paul fits in at Tangerine Middle because he's always felt different. He's been a minority at his school and a minority in his own house. So we're guessing it feels pretty good for him to feel like he finally fits in.

"This place is like darkest Africa. Like the Amazon jungle. Like we're learning to live among the natives here" (2.11.31)

Not too cool, Joey. He's looking for the most hurtful words he can say at this moment, and he sure comes up with some. But why? Why is racism his first line of defense?

I took in the ugliness of Joey's words, and I saw, for the first time, how different he was from me. (2.11.32)

This is weird, because Joey and Paul are actually really similar. Why is there this one big difference? Is it just because of Paul's glasses? Or is Joey just a bad person?

"What? Do you think [Theresa] is good-looking? […] Then you've been here too long" (2.12.10-12)

Joey's at it again (and by "it" be mean being a racist jerk). But this time, he's not angry. He's just being himself. So we can't really give him a pass this time. Sorry, Joe.

It was strange. […] I was driving past the sights that made up my ride to and from school, every day. But today I looked at them through the hostile eyes of a War Eagle. (2.20.12)

So, prejudice can go both ways. Is theirs just because of the way they're treated by the people who live in Lake Windsor, though? If they have a reason to be judgmental, then we're not sure that's really prejudice.

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