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Shane Fidler My Personal Culture

Self Awareness • I am white from multiple heritages (English-Canadian, FrenchCanadian, Irish, German) • I am an Agnostic male. • I was raised in Pennsylvania Dutch country. • I am a heterosexual. • English is my only fluent language.

Explanation • As a white male I have not faced many discriminations. However, with new laws and practices I have been taken out of the running for jobs and aid for school due to not being a minority. This is frustrating, because even if your right for the job or need the financial assistance, how you look still holds you back. In addition to that, being Agnostic hurts me in South Carolina as many residents are religious and frown upon those against it.

• I am a straight male raised in South Central Pennsylvania. Many hear that and automatically assume I am Amish. I laugh it off, as only a small percentage of the residents are actually Amish.

• Finally I am a being educated, lower middle class English speaking citizen of the United States.

Privilege and Disadvantage • The system works ok for me as I grew up with a few privileges. My parents were blue collar and I was lucky enough to have grandparents right down the street that would be there whenever I needed. As an only child, I got more family attention than friends with siblings.

• My life has had its disadvantages. My parents divorce in high school destroyed my chance at having college paid for, which has put me in a tremendous hole when I graduate. This will certainly cause future stress and always has had me on edge about finances. In addition to that I worry about finances for my future children. I would like them to have opportunities that I did not: such as graduate college debt free, be able to enjoy a spring break, etc. However, with my impending loan repayment doom while working on a teachers salary, this part of my future worries me.

Its all relative: My cultural lens • Lucky enough for me, while I feel disadvantaged, working with very poor children in a local high school has put my life into perspective. I am lucky enough to be able to eat a full meal every night. I am lucky enough to not have parents incarcerated, or have AIDS. These stories and many more help me not take anything for granted.

• Taking out massive amounts of money for college and its impeding repayment have put a massive weight on my shoulders. However, our government is currently passing laws to help students like me that want to work in places such as schools. This makes me feel better and keeps me motivated and on task.

• I am aware that my cultural lens has shaped my view of privileged and disadvantaged. I understand that I am lucky enough to be attending a good university and am enrolled in a good program that is putting me on track to succeed. I have everything I need in my life and many would consider me in the in between privileged and disadvantaged spectrum. This is my lens, and this is how I see the world based on my own experiences.

Concept of Education • Education was not always important to me. I did not put forth great effort in high school, as I was not committed to going to college. Neither of my parents went to college, so it was never emphasized. However, after graduating high school and working full time for two years I decided that I needed education. I came to South Carolina to go to college and have put myself in a position today to obtain a Masters degree. My parents are not really supportive of what I am trying to do, but that does not stop me. I am a firm believer in doing whatever it takes to achieve your goals, and I am living that right now. My family is not happy with me moving away, but have accepted it. • I am privileged enough to have people in my lives that encouraged me to go to college. They were friends, friends parents, co-workers, and most importantly myself. I feel as though those people that saw my potential and kept encouraging me, I am extremely lucky to have in my life. Unfortunately the non-support from my family has put me at a disadvantage. I look at it as just another obstacle trying to hold me back from what I want to do an who I want to be. • Finally it is important to know that I value education. I believe that everyone can benefit from some sort of education. Not everyone is fit or should go to college. However, a trade school could benefit a person in that category. You can not succeed in this world it seems like without an education. So I encourage others to try an get an education, and look forward to helping others pursue their dreams in the future.

Cultural lens: education • Coming from a family that did not see the importance of education beyond high school hurt me in those years. I now understand that if a teacher would have pulled me aside during those years and discussed my potential, I could have turned it around then. As a teacher, I plan on making it a point to find everyone's potential and try and help them realize it. I believe that it is my duty to try and not let someone put themselves into the situation I did, regardless of what people at home tell them.


Shane Fidler's Cultural AutoBiography