Nah to the Diversity Statement?

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
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janedope
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Nah to the Diversity Statement?

Postby janedope » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:00 pm

Soo... is it weird to not write a diversity statement? I am African American, but I grew up in a middle class Jewish neighborhood. I can talk about the racism I've experienced over the 25+ years I've walked this earth -- but those sound like "I am bitter because white people called me n-word" or the James Badlwin-esque "to be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time" type of responses. Those in no way, to me, add diversity to an academic environment.

I returned back to America this year and I am sure I can pull some thing out of my experiences abroad but thats going to be a stretch. Clearly, I am not very interesting.

So would it be gauche to not write a diversity statement?

Thanks for any responses!

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AAJD2B
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Re: Nah to the Diversity Statement?

Postby AAJD2B » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:21 pm

The misconception is such that "diversity" and all that defines it is limited to race/racial experiences for black applicants. This is not the case. Diversity statements can speak on:


- Socioeconomic experiences
- Work experiences
- First-generation experiences
- Religion/Faith
- Sexual orientation

Any unique experience that shapes the person you are today is what can constitute a diversity statement. Race is just one of many subjects that can be discussed.

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LegaleZy
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Re: Nah to the Diversity Statement?

Postby LegaleZy » Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:52 pm

I second what AAJD2B stated. I had the opportunity to attend the LSAC Forum in Chicago and this was pretty much what every rep reiterated when asked about the "diversity" statement.

Also, janedope I disagree with your assessment that your experience with racism would add nothing to diversity at an academic institution. No experience with racism is exactly identical, so I think your unique experiences adds diversity. I think you can certainly write about those experiences without sounding bitter. I think the topic of racism is one in which the writer has to be incredibly conscious of tone, so it doesn't sound bitter. You experienced racism, so what? What did you learn from that experience? How has it changed you, shaped you, motivated you? What can you share of that experience with your future peers to add diversity to the intellectual environment?

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bosmer88
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Re: Nah to the Diversity Statement?

Postby bosmer88 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:24 pm

LegaleZy wrote:I second what AAJD2B stated. I had the opportunity to attend the LSAC Forum in Chicago and this was pretty much what every rep reiterated when asked about the "diversity" statement.

Also, janedope I disagree with your assessment that your experience with racism would add nothing to diversity at an academic institution. No experience with racism is exactly identical, so I think your unique experiences adds diversity. I think you can certainly write about those experiences without sounding bitter. I think the topic of racism is one in which the writer has to be incredibly conscious of tone, so it doesn't sound bitter. You experienced racism, so what? What did you learn from that experience? How has it changed you, shaped you, motivated you? What can you share of that experience with your future peers to add diversity to the intellectual environment?


Agree with this and what AAJD2B wrote above.

For my diversity statement, I focused more on the challenges of navigating the American school system with my family as a first-generation American. I talked very little about race/racism in my DS. As Legalezy stated, just be cognizant of your tone when discussing race.

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Psib337
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Re: Nah to the Diversity Statement?

Postby Psib337 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:49 pm

When applications open you'll see that a lot of schools will list things that you could talk about in a DS and race is only one of them. I wrote about going to an all girls school for 14 years, that changed the way I thought things and has led me to care about things that I might not otherwise far more than my race did. I don't have anything really to say about my race, at least nothing I could write about for 1-2 pages. People have said things to me that are racist or just out of curiosity that they wouldn't ask a white person but those things are few and far between. The only reference I made to race on my applications was checking the box.

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theInnerCircle
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Re: Nah to the Diversity Statement?

Postby theInnerCircle » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:05 am

AAJD2B wrote:The misconception is such that "diversity" and all that defines it is limited to race/racial experiences for black applicants. This is not the case. Diversity statements can speak on:


- Socioeconomic experiences
- Work experiences
- First-generation experiences
- Religion/Faith
- Sexual orientation

Any unique experience that shapes the person you are today is what can constitute a diversity statement. Race is just one of many subjects that can be discussed.


This. I think you should do one, and you can pull it off from a non-bitter standpoint. It's totally possible. Talk more about how your differences are gonna bring something new to the table. Did you learn anything on your trip? Maybe put a spin on where/how you grew up. I think being raised in a neighborhood where not everyone looks like you/your family makes YOU seem tolerant of others as well. No? Good luck.

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janedope
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Re: Nah to the Diversity Statement?

Postby janedope » Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:31 pm

theInnerCircle wrote:
AAJD2B wrote:The misconception is such that "diversity" and all that defines it is limited to race/racial experiences for black applicants. This is not the case. Diversity statements can speak on:


- Socioeconomic experiences
- Work experiences
- First-generation experiences
- Religion/Faith
- Sexual orientation

Any unique experience that shapes the person you are today is what can constitute a diversity statement. Race is just one of many subjects that can be discussed.


This. I think you should do one, and you can pull it off from a non-bitter standpoint. It's totally possible. Talk more about how your differences are gonna bring something new to the table. Did you learn anything on your trip? Maybe put a spin on where/how you grew up. I think being raised in a neighborhood where not everyone looks like you/your family makes YOU seem tolerant of others as well. No? Good luck.



Yea, growing up one of two black families in a Jewish neighborhood is different, but mostly, its not. To be honest, I didn't know there were people outside of Blacks and Jews until like Middle School. Thanks for the advice!

LegaleZy wrote:I second what AAJD2B stated. I had the opportunity to attend the LSAC Forum in Chicago and this was pretty much what every rep reiterated when asked about the "diversity" statement.

Also, janedope I disagree with your assessment that your experience with racism would add nothing to diversity at an academic institution. No experience with racism is exactly identical, so I think your unique experiences adds diversity. I think you can certainly write about those experiences without sounding bitter. I think the topic of racism is one in which the writer has to be incredibly conscious of tone, so it doesn't sound bitter. You experienced racism, so what? What did you learn from that experience? How has it changed you, shaped you, motivated you? What can you share of that experience with your future peers to add diversity to the intellectual environment?


When I say bitter, I don't mean it coming from my perspective, I mean when I read student-essays that deal with racism they tend to be bit bitter. While I am no fan of my experiences, I don't see how that is helpful or beneficial to an academic environment because I am desensitized to racism. I can't say it made me better person, I am just more aware of the world. So I can't be surprised when I am called the n-word, despite looking like I just came off a boat from East Africa.

I really appreciate all of your responses to my question! I'll think I will drum something up!




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