Mindy & Me: Duante Diallo

As promised, today kicks off my week of “Mindy & Me”, a collection of concerns/happenings that Mindy Kaling and I have in common based on her book, “Is Everyone Handing Out Without Me (and other concerns)“.

(I secretly hope she reads one of these, and/or any other posts on my blog, so she can see how similarly we rant; that means, tweet and share this collection this week as much as possible friends, thanks!)

So we kick off with Mindy’s short story about Duante Diallo; the asshole that made her formative years in middle school awful.

Surprise surprise, I had one of those too; I’ll call him Bruce, for all intents and purposes. Bruce wasn’t as good-looking-star-athlete-from-a-foreign-country as Duante, but still got under my skin and also made my formative years of MS/HS awful.

Bruce’s antics and low self-esteem (I’m sure) brought my self-esteem down to the ground… like, dragging behind me and pulling me down. It wasn’t until I went to college that I was able to get it together and love myself… yada yada.

The biggest issue I see is that guidance counselors and parents don’t do much to help you get through it; especially when you’re a girl bullied by a boy. Boys are told to “man up!” and serve it right back to the bully whereas, like Gigi preaches in the opening of He’s Just Not That Into You, girls are “…encouraged… no, programmed(!) to believe that if a guy acts like a total jerk that means he likes you.” This is where our problem lies! (Minds: we should totally rally together behind this – get Michelle Obama involved, etc.)

Below are some tidbits of Mindy’s short story about Duante – situations I know too well.

Duante was also, unfortunately, a tyrannical asshole…he fixated on me early in the year as being overweight and was open with his observation. At first it had the veneer of niceness. For example, once I was getting a drink of water in the hallway where he and his friends were standing.

Duante: You would actually be really pretty if you lost weight.

…I was hurt, but I rationalized that maybe Duante had been around only extremely thin African girls… By winter, I had not lost weight and in fact had gained about ten more pounds. This really bothered Duante. I think he felt he had gone out of his way to give me some valuable advice and I had chosen not to follow it, therefore insulting him. One day in February , I walked into the freshman center, he stopped mid-conversation with his friends and gestured to me.

Duante: Speaking of whales…

I loved all the side effects of losing the weight, but the reason I did it was so that Duante would stop making fun of me… but he didn’t. One day I was walking down the hallway to class and passed him…

Duante: Remember when Mindy was like (blow out his cheeks to make a fat face) a whale?

They all laughed. Come on, dude. Remember when? I’m getting made fun of because I used to be fat?

That was when I realized that bullies have no code of conduct.”
– Duante Diallo story: pages 14-17

As previously mentioned, I believe bullying thrives on insecurity. Just like Duante, Bruce hasn’t found his way either. I, on the other hand, am very much fabulous and successful, carrying my self-esteem around with me like a crown. Perhaps not as “flawless” as Beyoncé in the morning, but totally trying to get here.

Thank you, Mindy, for sharing your story with the world. I wish there were books like this when I was growing up (maybe there were but I wasn’t reading them), it may have helped me bypass the whole “it’s because he likes you” thing.



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