Thursday, September 29, 2011

Prejudice?


I apologize for the entry I posted last night (that has since been deleted). It was intended for my other blog and I didn't realize I posted it here until this morning.

To make up for it, I decided to do an entry on a topic I had considered avoiding completely, but think it could be beneficial to get your opinion on.

For the past week I have been volunteering at an elementary school, acting as a mentor to the kids. However, I find that I only really get to work with the kindergartners, who are great but not the age group I wanted to work with. So I contacted the person over the organization I'm with, and she is looking to put me into a high school. "Great!" I thought.

Until I did some research online. The school is historically black, with a ratio of 99% black and 1% other. Here is where my topic fits in. I am less inclined to volunteer at the school because of the fact that it is pretty much all African American.

I'm sure your first thought was "You racist bastard". But the thing is, I'm not racist at all. I have friends of all different backgrounds. But in this situation, things are different for two reasons.

1) Being in an almost black school with kids near my age might be of some trouble for me. I haven't visited the school but I'm sure it's not in a much better neighborhood than the elementary school I was at. I feel as if I will stand out even more than I already do. Also, the kids might interpret me to be stuck up, being the white kid who is there to help the black kids. That's not the impression I want to give at all.

2) I'm volunteering for more than one reason. The main reason is I really want to be an influential part in these kids lives, I feel like working with kindergartners wasn't the best way to go about this because very few of these kids will remember me in 10 years. With high schoolers, it is different. I could make an impact that they will remember for their whole lives. But in a way, I'm also doing this for selfish reasons. I miss being around high schoolers. That (along with middle school) is what I consider the most attractive age group. That being said, I'm not really physically attracted to black guys. Again, that seems like a super racist statement, but to me it's as rare for me as liking a girl (yes, there have been one or two black guys I have found to be attractive).

So my dilemma is, I don't know what to do about volunteering at this school. At first it sounded great, and when on the phone with the organization leader I was thrilled at the opportunity. Someone is supposed to be in touch with me today or tomorrow to talk more about it. But now... I'm not so thrilled about it.

What do you think? Am I being pre-judgemental? Should I give it a chance? Or should I back out while there is still hope (and look into volunteering at one of the many private schools in the area that are mostly white)?

-Tristan

1 comment:

  1. I don't think your being prejudice, your just being true. IMO your life and these kid's lives are seperated by cultural differences. It's not that it won't or can't work, I just remember when I was their age, I thought knew everything. So would they really look up to you or would you be wasting eachothers time?
    Maybe I'm seem pre-judgemental now. I hope not.

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