- Poor Ben is the one really white kid in the class, and even after the kids start tolerating each other he often feels left out. When they play "the line game", for the first several questions he is the only one consistently left standing away from the line. But when Erin Gruwell asks who knows where to get drugs, he eagerly steps forward, thinking, "Finally, one that applies to me!" — only to realize no one else has budged, because nobody wants to admit they know where to get drugs! And then, after seeing Ben step forward, they all think, "Screw it", and everyone else steps forward too!
- When Erin takes the kids on a field trip, and her father helps pick them up, he sees all the shady characters hanging around one student's apartment, and as Erin's getting out of the car, he anxiously calls her back to the car, insists he'll fetch the student, and with a smile says, "Get in the car...lock your door..." Made even funnier by the fact that Erin seems oblivious to the potential danger. ("But Dad, he just lives right here...")
Erin's father: So, have you ever been to Newport Beach?Andre: [sarcastically] What? Naw, we went there last year on our way to Paris.
- Then, after the kid (Andre) gets in the car, Erin's father fixes him with a disapproving glare. Feeling defensive, Andre says, "What?" The response? "Put your seatbelt on."
- And this little gem from the same scene:
- "An 'F'. What are you, trippin'?" Three guesses who said it. Hint: It wasn't any of the students.
- "That was a stupid question, wasn't it? Gang affiliations aren't allowed in school. I apologize for asking, my badness." The students, at least, seem to think it's hilarious, and it marks the beginning of their acceptance of her as a teacher.
- Marcus is pretty full of snark:
Marcus: [after Ben fails spectacularly at a "cool" handshake] Still white, I see.
- The principal: [sighing] "Come in, Margaret."
- After a black, straight-A student in another class is asked to give the "African-American perspective" on The Color Purple:
Student: (Voiceover, as the student looks irritated) How the hell should I know the black perspective on The Color Purple? Teachers treat me like I'm some kind of Rosetta stone for African-Americans. What? Black people learn how to read, and we all miraculously come to the same conclusion? That's it, if I don't change classes, I'm gonna hurt this fool.