Sunday, September 14, 2008

XC on course discussion

I suppose this is based of of question 15:
From the age of 15-18 my family went through divorce, bankruptcy, and jail. These were all intense and crazy individually, and they all made me think. All of these events were events that I always knew happened to other people, and to other people's parents, but never to me. My family used to be middle-class, respectable, we live in a primarily white suburb of St. Louis. My school was pretty mixed between privileged white kids and then black kids from the city. So, I was used to being fairly normal for my school (except for the fact that I was born at home, my family doesn't beleive in shots, and we have chickens, but that's another story). Suddenly, I could relate to all the other kids with divorced parents. Suddenly having a parent who is a felon didn't seem to be that big of a deal. Suddenly having money was a big deal.
These three events shaped my worldview and my own identity. I have a middle-class background, because my family used to have money, and most of my relatives working-middle or middle-class, so I can relate to and understand everyone coming from a middle-class family. But, I also know what it's like to be well below the poverty line, to not be able to afford going to the dentist, and to have to watch how much we spend on groceries.
For most of my childhood, I had two parents who seemed to have a decent-enough relationship, and we were all a relatively happy family, so I know what that's like, but I also know the shittyness of divorce.
I didn't realize how much illegal activity my dad did until late in highschool. So, for most of my childhood, being a felon meant that you were a horrible person who did horrible things, so I recognize that mindset. But, now, I realize that there are all types of crimes and all sorts of reasons for doing them, and not of all the "criminals" are criminal.
These three events have caused me to be caught in between all these different worlds and all these different attitudes. They caused my white-middle-class privilege to be called into question, and they made me feel more understanding based on class rather than race.

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