DS Critique -- Gay and URM

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
User avatar
whirledpeas86
Posts: 1393
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:07 pm

DS Critique -- Gay and URM

Postby whirledpeas86 » Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:58 am

Hey all, I posted a rough version of this statement on the main board a day or two ago and, after a brief rewrite, I'm looking for people's critiques! Please let me know what you think and any ideas you have for improvement. If you want to do a DS swap for a more indepth/line by line edit, just PM me. Thanks!

“You know what? There’s no such thing as gay blacks; that’s just something black folks picked up from the whites. I know it’s true because they tossed all of the black [HI I'M THE WORD FILTER. THIS PERSON MIGHT BE A DICK.] and dykes off the slave ships on their way over here.” At 12-years-old, I sit in the back of the car, deeply immersed in a dog-eared copy of Jane Eyre, futilely trying to tune out the hateful words I can’t help but hear. “I know that’s right,” my mother mutters under her breath as she turns up the volume. My blood runs cold, then hot, then cold again. Just as I’m about to speak up, I bite my tongue, knowing that anything I could say would only bring the focus on me, and that’s the last thing I wanted to do.

This was the first time I was confronted, nigh slapped in the face, with how my racial and sexual identity conflicted with each other. Growing up in a religious Black family, I was more than familiar with the flamboyantly gay man wearing the salmon-colored suit and neck scarf who seemed to direct the choir at every Black church I had ever been to, yet was swept under the carpet. His partner was always referred to as “the roommate;” his reason for being unmarried was attributed to his being a “lifelong bachelor.” This is the sort of don’t ask, don’t tell policy that I don’t think will ever be repealed. Despite being aware of this silencing and invisibility, I didn’t grasp how it applied to me.

Living in a predominantly white town, I was used to being the odd man out. As the only one in the classroom with caramel brown skin and curly hair, it was undeniable that I was different than most of my classmates. I always dreaded when we would do the unit on slavery in social studies; I could feel everyone looking at me out of the corner of their eye, wondering if their family has anything to do with my ancestors’ bondage. Worse yet was trying to fit in with the other black kids on the playground or at camp. According to those kids, I talked like a white girl, listened to white music, and was just an all around Oreo: black on the outside, white on the inside. My parents taught me to be proud of my racial heritage. Yes, we were enslaved, but the fact that we made it here spoke to the strength and tenacity of our people. Yet, that was cold comfort as I sat alone while the other black kids laughed at me for my precise diction or my love of The Beatles. Whatever blackness was, I was terrified that I was doing it wrong.

This brings us back to me sitting in that car, analyzing the harsh voice on the radio, that seemed to speak directly to me, my mother’s tacit approval adding insult to injury. I had known for so long that I was different than everyone else. I wasn’t interested in chasing boys, playing with dolls, and planning the perfect wedding. If given the choice, I would have much preferred to run and jump in the mud with the boys and chase the girls on the playground, trying to nail the prettiest one with a kiss. However, if that voice on the radio was right, what did it mean about me? If there’s no such thing as a gay black person, then who, or what, am I?

It took me years of struggle and self-exploration to integrate my racial identity and sexual identity, eventually realizing that I didn’t have to pick one or the other. I learned about people like Bayard Rustin, a key organizer of the 1963 civil rights March on Washington, who also happened to be an openly gay man. While learning about prominent LGBT people of color helped, the most transformative act I took was learning about, and embracing, myself. As a leader of True Colors, the student group on my college campus that served as a support for queer students of color, I saw the power of my people. All of my people. From the March on Washington, to the Stonewall Riots, to the individual acts of advocacy that True Colors practiced, I learned that the only person who can silence me is myself.

User avatar
YCrevolution
Posts: 4714
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 1:25 am

Re: DS Critique -- Gay and URM

Postby YCrevolution » Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:05 am

..

sagirl27
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 3:15 pm

Re: DS Critique -- Gay and URM

Postby sagirl27 » Sun Oct 10, 2010 12:29 pm

Also..I am not sure if this is right, but I think the definition of an "Oreo: is black on the outside and white on the inside" and I think you have that reversed.

Touching story. I wanted a bit more with your personal development in the end. I love that your background affected your involvement on campus, but how has this personal development made you a better candidate for law school? Do you believe that personal development and maturity is even important for a legal career? I wanted a bit more of that kind of stuff especially in the conclusion. At the same time though, I think that your last sentence should be the last sentence. It is very effective.

Also, I think you could find a better way to transition back into the car situation. It reads a bit abrupt that like "bringing you back to the car" Show me don't tell me. Like bring me back to that place with a song on the radio or something else. Like starting with a specific song and bringing me back to that song.

Otherwise really good! Needs a bit of work, but love the idea!

User avatar
whirledpeas86
Posts: 1393
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:07 pm

Re: DS Critique -- Gay and URM

Postby whirledpeas86 » Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:48 pm

sagirl27 wrote:Also..I am not sure if this is right, but I think the definition of an "Oreo: is black on the outside and white on the inside" and I think you have that reversed.

Touching story. I wanted a bit more with your personal development in the end. I love that your background affected your involvement on campus, but how has this personal development made you a better candidate for law school? Do you believe that personal development and maturity is even important for a legal career? I wanted a bit more of that kind of stuff especially in the conclusion. At the same time though, I think that your last sentence should be the last sentence. It is very effective.

Also, I think you could find a better way to transition back into the car situation. It reads a bit abrupt that like "bringing you back to the car" Show me don't tell me. Like bring me back to that place with a song on the radio or something else. Like starting with a specific song and bringing me back to that song.

Otherwise really good! Needs a bit of work, but love the idea!


Thanks so much for the feedback! I am trying to expand a bit on the last paragraph, but the length constraints make it difficult and I'm already a sentence or 2 away from it going over a page. Do you know if using 11 pt. font is acceptable?


"My mother abruptly pulls into a parking space and hurries me out of the car to get to the Sunday church service for which we are already ten minutes late. Yet, my brain is still in a fog, busy analyzing that harsh voice on the radio that seemed to speak directly to me, my mother's tacit approval only adding insult to injury."

Do you think that would make for a more effective transition? Maybe not exactly that, but something along those lines?

User avatar
plenipotentiary
Posts: 616
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:13 pm

Re: DS Critique -- Gay and URM

Postby plenipotentiary » Sun Oct 10, 2010 3:01 pm

"This is the sort of don’t ask, don’t tell policy that I don’t think will ever be repealed."

This is a great line.

I think it could be a bit clearer that you're listening to the radio in the beginning (at first, I thought it was your mother speaking). Otherwise, I love your DS.

User avatar
nihilism is key
Posts: 167
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:32 pm

Re: DS Critique -- Gay and URM

Postby nihilism is key » Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:20 pm

Also, this might be misinformation on my part, but isnt a DS supposed to be limited to approximately 1 page double spaced in length? This reads in both content and length, more like a PS imo.

User avatar
whirledpeas86
Posts: 1393
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:07 pm

Re: DS Critique -- Gay and URM

Postby whirledpeas86 » Sat Oct 16, 2010 11:01 pm

Ugh, so I just realized that, while this is exactly a page long, it's *single-spaced*. :( I feel more confident about this DS than I do the PS (that I'm currently slaving over, kind of hating it), and was wondering if I should just use the DS as my PS since it's already the right length and I don't know how to cut it in half while maintaining the flow/integrity. The one con is that I'm really interested in mental health law or juvenile law and my personal statement speaks to that. For several schools, like Chicago and Columbia (my top 2), where they have clinics/programs on this topic, I think it would be good to include that. So, yeah, I'm torn. Thoughts?

bdubs
Posts: 3729
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:23 pm

Re: DS Critique -- Gay and URM

Postby bdubs » Sat Oct 16, 2010 11:31 pm

whirledpeas86 wrote:Ugh, so I just realized that, while this is exactly a page long, it's *single-spaced*. :( I feel more confident about this DS than I do the PS (that I'm currently slaving over, kind of hating it), and was wondering if I should just use the DS as my PS since it's already the right length and I don't know how to cut it in half while maintaining the flow/integrity. The one con is that I'm really interested in mental health law or juvenile law and my personal statement speaks to that. For several schools, like Chicago and Columbia (my top 2), where they have clinics/programs on this topic, I think it would be good to include that. So, yeah, I'm torn. Thoughts?


It seems like a great PS to me.

I would suggest making this sentence "This was the first time I was confronted, nigh slapped in the face, with how my racial and sexual identity conflicted with each other." more straightforward. Not that it really matters much, but the reader is left wondering a bit as to your sex. A really strong sentence at the beginning of this paragraph laying out that you will be talking about your struggles as an AA lesbian will give your readers the proper perspective.

Also I agree with the above poster who said that you should expand on how this has shaped you as an ideal LS candidate. This is especially important if this will be your PS.

User avatar
applepiecrust
Posts: 476
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:38 am

Re: DS Critique -- Gay and URM

Postby applepiecrust » Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:04 am

Ah, found it. I really like this, and agree with the above posters that it might work better as a PS.

User avatar
nihilism is key
Posts: 167
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:32 pm

Re: DS Critique -- Gay and URM

Postby nihilism is key » Sun Oct 17, 2010 11:32 am

whirledpeas86 wrote:Ugh, so I just realized that, while this is exactly a page long, it's *single-spaced*. :( I feel more confident about this DS than I do the PS (that I'm currently slaving over, kind of hating it), and was wondering if I should just use the DS as my PS since it's already the right length and I don't know how to cut it in half while maintaining the flow/integrity. The one con is that I'm really interested in mental health law or juvenile law and my personal statement speaks to that. For several schools, like Chicago and Columbia (my top 2), where they have clinics/programs on this topic, I think it would be good to include that. So, yeah, I'm torn. Thoughts?


Many schools allow you to write a Why X optional essay. Why not use this as your PS and then write a Why X for schools like Chicago and Columbia. It will be more work, but for your dream schools it might go a long way. Also, it seems as though many posters from this forum who had great success in their cycles chose not to write a DS if they could integrate it into their PS.




Return to “Under Represented Law Student Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest