What Happened When I Attended A Racially Isolated High School
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Politics and Activism

What Happened When I Attended A Racially Isolated High School

Spoiler alert: I graduated.

What Happened When I Attended A Racially Isolated High School
The Free Press

Growing up, I went to an elementary school and middle school that both were fairly racially equal, exposing me to different races and cultural backgrounds. However, I can vividly remember the comments people would say to me and my family when we were making the decision to go to a different high school than that of many of my peers. Things like, "you don't want to go there, there's too many black people" and "you'll end up in a trash can and be the little white kid nobody talks to" are among the most memorable things people would say to us.

Guess what?

None of these things happened. I chose to go to the high school that was out of my district because it offered the International Baccalaureate program, consisting of academically challenging college prep curriculum. Only about 15 of the people from my middle school in my grade made this same decision, and because it was a city school, I did not know many of the students there. I didn't get beaten up, and I can't ever recall a time where my body met the trashcan. In fact, many of the people who I did encounter problems with, were ones I had attended middle school with and not that it should matter, but they were the same race as me.

It still concerns me to this day that people were so worried about me going to a school where for once in my life, I'd be the minority. I find it funny how it's a crime to become socially and culturally diverse. People told me I'd end up being a pregnant teenager, and that students at my school got in a fight on the daily, and this was assumed because my school was predominately black. The truth is, it was completely close-minded and ludicrous for them to believe that attending an inner-city school meant I'd become pregnant, something that none of my peers ever forced on me. What, being black means you're automatically going to become a pregnant teenager? No, it doesn't. But unfortunately it means you do face the judgement and the stereotypes that people had placed on both my peers and my school. With this, we had an average amount of fights as any other school where hormone-raging teenagers attended. Many of my black peers now attend accredited universities and are even aspiring doctorate programs, while the same (white) people who told me it was dumb to go to my school, settled for lower education or no further education at all. I don't believe it's a race thing, but because other people did, I have to address it. It wasn't a matter of who was black and who was white that my school got such awful stereotypes -- it was a matter of who was close-minded and still living with a 1940's mindset.

I attended a racially isolated school, but I didn't get pregnant and my skin color did not change. What did change, was my perspectives on the world. I went to that high school and I found myself more accepted than ever before. I was no longer bullied over my weight or the clothes I wore, and I had a fresh start and got to meet some life-changing people. I learned that there were more important things than buying the most expensive clothes, and I also learned that racism is much too prevalent in such a progressive world. In my town, schools are segregated because people are close-minded and still caught up on things that are irrelevant. Maybe if they were more focused on their own and their childs quality education, than how many people of the same race would be attending the school with them, they too could achieve higher than they ever thought possible. Quit making being racially close-minded an excuse to settle for low quality education or to not push your children to aspire greater things. My high school would have never been as isolated had someone taken a stand a lot sooner and if people had not been so stereotypical. This is not the 1940's, and attending a school so culturally diverse did not hurt me at all. It put me out of a social comfort zone and helped me become much more compassionate and well-rounded, as I met people I would have otherwise never met with such inspiring stories. I'd like to say thank you to the people at Kinston High, for inspiring me and for accepting me despite others not accepting you. And to the people who placed stereotypes on my school: you should be ashamed of yourself.

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