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The Jesuit Antiracism Sodality East

“Me puse alegre cuando me dijeron, ‘Vamos a la casa del Señor.’” – Salmo 122:1 (121:1)

“I rejoiced when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’” – Psalm 122:1

 

 

Desolation: Away Games

I think it finally hit her. She really wasn’t in the South Bronx anymore. I was chatting with the mother of a St. Ignatius School alumna who’s now attending an elite high school in the tri-state area. The conversation went something like this. Grades? Fine. Making friends? Oh, yes. So she’s doing okay? Father, it’s just… Whether it was the music chosen at events at the school or the food in the cafeteria, the daughter for the first time was in a school environment where she notably felt like the other. To be clear the school is very generous to her and I have heard of no incidents. But deeply feeling her difference from others has started to frustrate her.

I talked about this phenomenon with a colleague and teacher of color at a Jesuit school. He and I agreed to a term that sums up the experience. “Away games.” Teams might be playing the same game on the same field under the same rules, but the away team just has more stress to handle than the home team. Though not a conscious decision, many Catholic and Jesuit schools are home games for folks like myself: suburban, white, male. For Latino families from the South Bronx? Not always.

Consolation: Home Games

St. Ignatius School shines on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Coordinated by our do-everything administrative assistant, our current families bring a plate of traditional food, a dessert, or a drink to share with the school community. Faculty and staff serve the meal, and families are encouraged to bring the little ones, the older ones, and everyone else with them. Our alumni who are in high school and college congregate on the back patio, out of sight from their folks, and shoot a basketball or just chill in the glow of their cellphones. Our parents let their little ones run around and play in the library while they catch up with each other and current students chow down. There is no drama, no stress, no worry about the future. The music is bachata and cumbia. The food is arroz con gandules, pernil, and tres leches. It is a banquet. It is a home game.

This month’s reflection was provided by Vinny Marchionni, SJ, of Saint Ignatius School in the Bronx. If you would like to volunteer to provide next month’s reflection, please contact Sean: stoole@jesuits.org.

The views and opinions expressed in this reflection do not necessarily reflect those of Jesuits USA East.

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