The Cistercian Bubble
October 15, 2019
One of the unintended consequences of attending Cistercian is being raised in a sheltered bubble. The school typically appeals to a certain demographic, whether racial or political, and fosters a particular point of view within the student body, while simultaneously limiting exposure to viewpoints unaligned with Cistercian principle. Due to the nature of Cistercian being a Catholic school, it is understandable that a large portion of the student body is Catholic as well. However, Cistercian shouldn’t be a place for them to reaffirm their viewpoints without consideration for other faiths or political beliefs. As an educational institution, Cistercian should be a place that exposes its students to more than the view the school subscribes to.
Many factors can lead to a limited number of views that the students are exposed to, such as diversity. The fact that some graduating classes are missing representation from entire races is undesirable, and one can see the impact of this at the school. Cistercian’s low diversity contributes to a lack of attention given to different viewpoints. Of course, Cistercian cannot control which ethnicities apply to the school, but having recently gone to the Dallas Private School Preview at Greenhill, I encountered a diverse crowd of people mentioning that they would be applying to the school. This is not reflected as well in the current student body. However, I have hope that this will be changed with these next incoming students, who seem eager to join and contribute to our school.
In addition to the lack of racial diversity at the school, the position of students on the political spectrum is not varied either. As a result, the atmosphere at Cistercian makes it particularly hard for dissenting voices to be heard. More often than not, an opinion coming from the other side of the political spectrum does not provoke conversation. It does not provoke the curiosity to figure out what reasoning or logic lies behind these views. The conversation is stifled by the unwillingness of students to even hear these opposing beliefs out. For example, in a conversation about the refugee caravans coming up from Central America, one student offered their input on the situation by saying that the refugees should fix their countries instead of coming here. They were quick to dismiss the fact that it is possible they would have been more likely to die if they had stayed put, or that if they did try to make an attempt to change their country, it would almost certainly have been squashed. Both of these viewpoints have the good-willed person’s reasoning and logic behind them, but the problem is that only one of the views is given any weight.
Even worse than the topics that barely get a discussion, there are those that won’t even be touched upon, or, even if they are, they don’t get fair treatment from either side (Evan O’Suilleabhain explains perfectly in his Ben Shapiro article how these important issues do not get properly treated in class). The school’s low diversity should not be seen as part of the problem, because it is not. It is just a factor contributing to the viewpoints of the majority of the student body. However, it can and should be fixed without fundamentally overhauling the makeup of the student body. We must simply be aware of this situation and strive to seek the truth, which in turn will help us understand the opinions and beliefs of others in their own pursuit of truth.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Cistercian Informer or Cistercian.