My goals for this paper is to tell the audience about my self and how I have grown as a person and in understand the world around. I want to convey the message to my audience that I have when I was younger I never felt out of place because I was surrounded buy kids like me. I also want to explain how I realize now how unfortunate that was, because back then I had no idea about racial issues because I was sheltered. I also feel it is necessary to understand that there is a stigma when it comes to private schools and while private schools are not bad necessarily, many private school kids are sheltered by their "lovely" community. This is obviously not what should be strived for when kids are learning about the world. I really feel good about my paper. I feel as if this is a situation that I can talk about personally and with quite a bit of detail. My process could have been better, because even though I felt as if I had a lot to talk about, it was a slow start I ended up finishing my paper on the later side.
I have grown up in what I would consider a middle class family. I have never felt bad about my identity, and have never gone to a school where I have felt out of place. My private pre-k through eight school was predominantly white. I assume that Hearing “private school,” most likely makes you think of snobby, privileged, rich, white kids, whose lives are sheltered. You might think that they have no idea of any issues of race and diversity. While this tends to be what most private schools are made up of, my elementary and middle school was not quite like this.
Not everything was handed down to us on a platter. Even though we had enough to pay one hundred and fifty-thousand dollars for ten years of outstanding education, we were not stereotypical preppy white kids. While it might sound odd that I am trying to defend myself as someone who went to a private school, looking back on myself as a person during those ten years, I don’t see a snobby rich white kid. I do see a sheltered white kid.
From pre-k all the way through eighth grade my class was ninety percent white and ten percent african american, hispanic, and asian. My experience with race was almost non existent, and I developed a sense of belonging. I was a white kid with twenty-five other white kids and I felt as if I fit in. I was in the majority and I felt comfortable, because, as Thandie Newton stated in her TED talk Embracing Otherness, Embracing myself, “the self likes to fit, to see itself replicated, to belong. That confirms its existence and its importance.” We were all in the same social class, and shared very similar beliefs, especially when it came to politics. Almost all the kids in my school were democrats, and it was assumed that most of us were all leaning towards the left party. When it came to race, I never understood how race was a problem in our everyday lives.
Because of my sheltered environment, I never understood how race could be an issue. While the environment at my old school taught me that being a part of the majority was a good thing, the environment at SLA told me the complete opposite. The transition was foreign to me, and quite scary, because, like Thandie Newton stated, “I still valued self worth over all other worth,” and I was no longer surrounded by people who shared my same race, background and religious and political beliefs. “My self — was trying to plug in,” and it [my self] was unsuccessful. As the community began to accept me for who I was, I was not only taught that being a white kid in a school with other white kids caused me to be unaware of racial issues such as stereotyping and racial profiling, but it taught me that it was better to not grow up in a sheltered environment. Being at SLA, I realized that I used to be completely oblivious to how our society treats the minority so horribly. Although, the main issue in my eyes, about me, was that I practically had no friends outside of my race at my old school, and I was not aware of what it was like to be the minority.
The environment at SLA caused me to change my views on race, and I no longer want to be the majority at a private school. I am glad that I am no longer surrounded by kids of my same complexion. I don’t want to feel as if I fit in simply because of my skin color. I know I fit in because I am different, and that is the beauty of a wonderful community. It has taught me that we don’t need to be the same to fit in. In fact, it is better when we all come from very different backgrounds. Being different is what makes us fit in.