I want to preface this post by saying that not all Catholic schools are bad and I acknowledge the privilege I have in being able to attend one and share my experiences. Honestly, in some ways I am grateful for some of the experiences I went through because they helped shape me into who I am today and my current beliefs.
Ok, now let’s get into my experience with going to an all girls, private, Catholic school. *DUN DUN DUN*
I come from a very religious and conservative family; so for my parents, it was a no brainer to send me to a school that would align with those values. However, what I learned from the school I attended is that 1) being a person of color (which is the minority) makes you a token, 2) homophobia and racism is rampant, and 3) questioning authority or your morals is highly looked down upon.
Being one of the only “Brown” kids in my school wasn’t a big deal to me and my peers never made me feel isolated or an outcast because of my skin tone. However, it did offend me when our headmaster always mixed me up with one of the Black girls on a regular basis. I never said anything because I knew there wasn’t any malicious intent, but it was crazy because whenever there was any promotion or event for the school, me and the Black girl would always be volunteered to speak or be photographed to exemplify diversity. How are you going to use us to show diversity when you mix up two completely different races?
If you’re going to tokenize me, at least call me by the right name.
Although my classmates never directly did anything racist towards me, I constantly observed them say or do racist and homophobic things on a daily basis that made me uncomfortable. They had so much privilege and they did not even realize it; and if you said anything to call them out, they simply couldn’t comprehend why what they said was wrong. I specifically remember telling a girl in my class that saying the n word in a song doesn’t justify saying it at all and her response was “I didn’t say the ‘hard ‘r’ so it doesn’t count”. Yes it does.
It was also normalized to call things “gay” when they were unfavorable. As someone who was raised Catholic, I think it is highly hypocritical for people to say stuff like that and judge others, when God is the ultimate judge and preaches loving everyone.
I mean c’mon, we were taught the golden rule in like kindergarten, let’s fucking implement it right?
These instances made me question the morals I was being taught, and how my views differed from everyone else. Not all of the things being said or done directly affected me, but they did make me extremely uncomfortable and whenever I voiced that, I was labeled as “overly sensitive “ or “too politically correct”. It didn’t help that my school was very very small, like 40 girls in my graduating class small.I felt like a fraud because here I was, this little conservative, Catholic, Brown girl, having contradicting beliefs from everyone around me.
All of this being said, I am grateful in a way for having experienced and witnessed these things because it made me realize that it’s okay to have my own, differing opinion; and that just because you were raised a certain way, doesn’t mean you have to conform to that way of thinking. It also made me appreciate college because instead of being trapped in a like minded bubble, I am surrounded and get to meet so many people who have had so many different lived experiences that I can either relate to or learn from.
3 thoughts on “My thoughts on Catholic school”
I am so sorry you went through this, and thank you so much for sharing your experience with Catholic School! That last paragraph was SO important.
I have never heard anyone say anything bad about catholic school or any kind of religious school except for the basic “I hated the uniforms”. Thank you for bringing a different kind of view and outlook on something that is so important in our society.
I completely agree with this. I went to a catholic school with both boys and girls and it really did shape me into the person I am today. Like you said in the last paragraph, coming to a public college very much a culture shock.