Rough draft of diversity statement. Ideas and Critiques?

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
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cdotson2
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Rough draft of diversity statement. Ideas and Critiques?

Postby cdotson2 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:52 pm

Diversity Statement
"My name is Christopher Dotson and I am a Hispanic white male. As a child I grew up in a poor neighborhood in a small town, but because both of my parents taught at a private school I was able to attend for free. This school was about 95 percent white. All throughout elementary school I considered myself white just like everyone else in my school because I did not know any better, even though every summer I would go down to Florida to visit my mother’s family and throughout the trip Spanish was spoken about 60-70 percent of the time by my relatives. As I entered middle school I first started to encounter how I differed from the rest of the students at my school, I started to endure jokes about my race, and comments from other students about my accent. I still largely considered myself white, and whenever someone asked me what I was I answered with a long explanation of how my Mother was born in Puerto Rico but both of her parents escaped from Cuba after Castro came into power, and how my father was just white, his parents born in the Appalachian mountains white. High school was when I first started to really reflect on my ethnicity and was I came into stronger cultural dissonance with my classmates, jokes turned crude and got old. I remember a more innocent anecdote, in my senior in high school I was part of a county wide leadership group, taking responsible actions in life (TRAIL), and part of what we did in this program was mentor at risk teens at a local middle school. One day while I was working with the kids I was having a conversation with a group of them about sports they played, one of the kids asked me if I played any sports and another was quick to chime in “of course he does look at his hair, he is Hispanic he plays soccer”. At the end of my high school career I no longer considered myself white, I labeled myself as Hispanic. At this time though the dynamic nature of race and ethnicity came at me from not within but without again through the form of demographic surveys. With the outburst of Hispanic populations in my state and through the nation as a whole, surveys started separating out the question of Hispanic or not and then had a separate category for white, black, Asian, other. Wherever I could I would just answer Hispanic. As I entered college I went through further self reflection on my race, I encountered many different people from Hispanic nations and learned more about what being Cuban meant and how as a nation we have lumped all Hispanic culture into one amalgam which was largely labeled Mexican. I took classes on international subjects, Law and on African culture and learned more about what it meant to be a minority in America. I learned that racism wasn’t just crude jokes and people thinking I played a certain sport. I became more confident through the thousands of times I met new people and had to introduce myself in classes to say that I am Hispanic without having to go through the full story of my lineage. One of the most interesting experiences of self reflection on my race that I faced in my college career though came from writing my senior thesis. My thesis topic was how race of attorneys affected Supreme Court decisions. Throughout the process of gathering sources and coding data I had to look at names of attorneys and pictures of attorneys and through this data code them with a certain race. Through this process I thought my race might not be quantified, with the last name Dotson from my Fathers family and very light skin tone just as many people assume I am white as ask me where I come from. I have faced a very interesting development through my life of my own ethnicity; through self reflection and encounters with the world I have changed my own identification several times. My name is Christopher Dotson and I am a Hispanic White male."

Do you think this is a good topic or way to write a diversity statement? Any ideas or ways for me to refine it are welcome.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Rough draft of diversity statement. Ideas and Critiques?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Jun 20, 2015 12:51 pm

No, in my opinion, this is not an effective diversity statement. The statement is too long & emphasizes that you view yourself as a non-minority while others labeled you as a minority. The purpose of a diversity statement is to share how your diverse qualities affected your development as a person & shaped your view of the world.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Rough draft of diversity statement. Ideas and Critiques?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Jun 20, 2015 12:54 pm

Also, as written, your diversity statement is too verbose (philosophy major ?). Try to condense your writing into crisp, clear sentences which develop & support your theme in a logical manner. This requires the development of a succinct theme which is clearly expressed in the opening sentence.

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cdotson2
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Re: Rough draft of diversity statement. Ideas and Critiques?

Postby cdotson2 » Sat Jun 20, 2015 1:24 pm

It was supposed to be about how I struggled with self identity, what if I can keep that piece (struggling with self identity) while incorporating how it shaped my view of the world, would that be good? I know it is too long I need to cut it down, and yes I am a political science and philosophy double major.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Rough draft of diversity statement. Ideas and Critiques?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Jun 20, 2015 1:25 pm

Your current theme seems to be "How I found out that I was different". "Who am I ? " might be an appropriate theme that incorporates what you have written with your inner struggle.

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Skool
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Re: Rough draft of diversity statement. Ideas and Critiques?

Postby Skool » Sat Jun 20, 2015 2:06 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:The purpose of a diversity statement is to share how your diverse qualities affected your development as a person & shaped your view of the world.
I would also add that it's about what you add to the intellectual community of your law school that isn't likely to be there without you. Why you're different.

Maybe toss something in about how this background affects how you approach problems and people. Just being something isn't important; what's the cash value for the law school and your colleagues.

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cdotson2
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Re: Rough draft of diversity statement. Ideas and Critiques?

Postby cdotson2 » Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:16 pm

Thank you for the help! I will rewrite with the thesis of "the child of bi-racial parents and how my struggle with self identity has impacted how I interact with others and how they interact with me". Does that sound like a good thesis?

CanadianWolf
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Re: Rough draft of diversity statement. Ideas and Critiques?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:30 pm

"How being bi-racial has caused me to struggle with self-identity and affected my interactions with others."

Your proposed theme states that your parents are bi-racial ("the child of bi-racial parents"). Is this accurate ? I think that rephrasing your theme might help readers to better understand your emerging awareness.

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cdotson2
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Re: Rough draft of diversity statement. Ideas and Critiques?

Postby cdotson2 » Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:35 pm

What I meant by the child of bi-racial parents is that My mother is Cuban and my father is Caucasian,that was bad wording on my part.




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