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Here are a few: Looking back, I can’t discount the sacrifices my family made to get where we are today. Students tracked into this program in elementary school would usually end up in honors and Advanced Placement classes in high school — classes necessary for gaining admission into prestigious colleges. She also persuaded school administrators to test me for entrance into the program, and with her support, I eventually earned a spot. Weiland’s persistence ultimately influenced my acceptance into Brown University.But I also can’t discount specific moments we had working in our favor. My parents, unfamiliar with our education system, didn’t understand any of this. No matter how hard I worked or what grades I received, without gifted placement I could never have reached the academic classes necessary for an Ivy League school. Weiland, my entire educational trajectory would have changed.
Now you’re the Ivy League cousin who speaks a certain way, and does things others don’t understand.
It changes the dynamic in your family entirely.” A Latina friend of mine from Oakland felt this when she got accepted to the University of Southern California.
When I was 4 years old, my parents moved our family to a predominantly white part of town, so I could attend the county’s best public schools.
I was often one of the only students of color in my gifted and honors programs.
Your "foreign-sounding" name can determine whether someone considers you qualified for a job.
Your family’s income can determine the quality of your public school or your odds that your entrepreneurial project succeeds. They have created a society where most every American is working hard and yet only a small segment are actually moving forward.
So many times throughout my life, I’ve come home from classes, sleepovers, dinner parties, and happy hours feeling the heaviness of this exchange. At the same time, I remember using academia jargon my family couldn’t understand either.
I’ve had to Google cultural symbols I hadn’t understood in these conversations (What is “Harper’s”? At a Christmas party, a friend called me out for using “those big Ivy League words” in a conversation.
Your race can determine whether you interact with police, whether you are allowed to buy a house, and even whether your doctor believes you are really in pain.
Your gender can determine whether you receive funding for your startup or whether your attempts at professional networking are effective.