Paper 1

740 words - 3 pages

When many people recount their low socioeconomic status during their youth they often mention how they were unaware their family was poor. In contrast, I was aware my family did not have much. All of my life I lived in communities and neighborhoods with diversity and I knew we were not extremely poor; we could still afford the finer things in life such as cable TV, a fairly stocked fridge, and a car. Yet, I knew my schoolmates didn’t have parents that worked 65 hours a week each. I knew other kids’ birthday gifts tended to be envelopes that contained money; mine would be a cupcake if I was lucky. There were other families much worse off than we were. I was never homeless, abused and I usually had something to eat.
Not having as much as my classmates never bothered me. The library always had books to read, the basketball court was around the corner, and I had a bicycle. I didn’t mind getting teased about always bringing a bagged lunch because I couldn’t afford to buy lunch at school, or being belittled by some of the other students because of my skin. In fact adults also appeared condescending at times. White parents did not hesitate to share with my parents as if they did not already know; “Your son is such polite and respectful young man”. The color of my skin itself has been a huge determining factor in decisions associated with every activity I have participated in, regardless, if it is in academic, athletic or social. Many of my friends I have made in college or through internships have no idea of the challenges that I have faced or the growing societal pressures as an African-American male; a person of color.
However, it was the lack of positive expectations that people had for me that bothered me the most. The combination of my socioeconomic status and the color of my skin led to many people having sub-par expectations of my future. Whether that was teachers I had just met or whenever I moved to another school, educators seemed to assume that I was destined to struggle. This stigma of low expectations seemed to be with me...

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