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White Walls

For this week’s post, I wanted to track my education, starting with elementary, and see how this has enabled or disabled  me to succeed relative to my status as a White man. As you may or may not know, I am a Texan and damn proud of it. I’m from good ole San Antone where the heat and taco stands are as prevalent as the rain and squirrels are here in Lewisburg. I grew up in what has become the “Bubble” of San Antonio in Alamo Heights. As the name alludes, the area is predominantly home to middle-class Whites who send their children to the notorious, Alamo Heights School District (AHSD).

I attended AHSD in elementary school and up until middle school where I switched to private school in 6th grade. I created many lasting friendships while at AHSD, and in fact I still keep in touch and hang out with many of the kids I grew up with. This transition from public to private school is what I credit for “making me the man I am today”. This all boys private school, San Antonio Academy, preached on its lasting motto of, “Be Honest. Be Kind. Be the Best You Can Be”. Sounds cheesy at first, but it was here that I was taught to answer “yes mam” and “yes sir” to older individuals and also learn my true character and learn the meaning of self-control. From there, instead of following the majority of my friends to Alamo Heights High School, I attended my second private school, Central Catholic.

So what’s the takeaway from this short synopsis of the last 15 or so years of my life? Looking back, was I afforded the opportunity to attend private school because of my identification as a White? San Antonio Academy was a predominantly White and most of the families that attended there were middle to upper class; I might add that tuition here was more expensive than my high school. While, Central Catholic was more diverse, I still was able to succeed and now am attending Bucknell University while most of my other friends (from Central) are attending a state school or have not made it out of San Antonio. It is of merit to mention that the majority of the friends above are not White.

The broader reality of my situation plays right into the hands of unequal education opportunities. Given my status as a White and the fact that my family has enough income that has enabled me to attend private school, which is generally known for better education, and now I am attending arguably one of the best Northeast schools with job opportunities already before me. Now I’d like to think that I have a lot of ambition, but just because of my status does that mean I deserve to be here at Bucknell more than someone whom has lesser financial resources and represents another ethnicity? My situation reflects a common trait of the education system. It seems that if you are a White male or female that comes from a financially stable background, you will most likely attend the school you wish, including college. My best friend’s family from home owns a large chain of car dealerships back home ranging from Toyota to Audi to Land Rover. Recently, both of his sisters were accepted to the University of Texas at Austin which is a highly regarded school both in and out of state. Now I know for a fact that I have better grades and overall resume, if you will, but I was not accepted. Can this difference be afforded to the difference in financial background between his family and mine? (My name is not on billboards surrounding San Antonio)

Are any of you in a similar situation or do you feel the same? I feel extremely blessed to be in the position I am and I try not to take that for granted. However, in reviewing this post its hard to swallow that I may have been afforded unfair advantages in my education history. I’m also making a run for best titles.


About Patrick

I am a Junior Management major, member of Bucknell's football team, and current president of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.


2 thoughts on “White Walls

  1. I definitely can relate to your post and to tell you the truth I have thought about the educational privileges of affuent white people before. I have attended private schools since the first grade and, like you, I would agree that my educational experiences have largely shaped me and contributed to my personal beliefs, values, interests and ambitions today. I would like to think that it is not just by virtue of my race and my family’s financial situation that I have been able to succeed thus far in my life, but maybe it is. I would much rather attribute it to my hard work and determination to excel in the classroom. However, if these factors (race, wealth) have allowed me to enjoy the opportunity of a better education at private schools, then I think the argument could be made that yes, upper- or middle-class white people are afforded unfair advantages over other races. In this case, maybe the reality is that we are all products of our environment/upbring rather than of our own actions. Regardless, I do recognize that I am extremely fortunate to be where I am today and for this reason, I fully appreciate all the educational experiences that I have enjoyed.

    Posted by Lauren McGuiggan | February 28, 2012, 5:15 pm
  2. You ask a brave question, “have I been given unfair advantages”? If we reverse the order, would it be fairer to take away your advantages?, then the answer is no.

    Since we are doing full disclosure, I was educated in private school and I am sure it gave me a better chance to go to a better college. What do you do with your advantage? That is in your hands. But using it to create more opportunities for others, one way or another, is a definite option.

    Posted by Jordi | February 29, 2012, 8:29 pm

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Blog 5 before session 6 What (interest) or Who (person) Inspires You? For this week’s prompt, the Blog Council wants you to examine how this class relates to your own interests. So, please write about how this class relates to some of your own intellectual or other learning interests. We are NOT interested in how it relates to a specific career goal. Plan B: same idea, but based on a person. See whole post for details.

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