Diversity Statement Feedback/Parameters

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
AlmostSplitter
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:48 pm

Diversity Statement Feedback/Parameters

Postby AlmostSplitter » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:14 pm

Is this an okay diversity statement or does it focus too little on my actual experiences? I tried to balance talking about myself with relating that to why I would be an asset to a certain law school.

Any advice is very welcome (including length, content, and style).

Here it is:

When I was a college freshmen, I knew there was mismatch between my personality and queer stereotypes. When I came out, I discovered that this was a problem. For men, I was told, an assortment interests or mannerisms that mark one as not-straight—in particular, dress, speech, and behavior traditionally regarded as feminine—are expected to compliment queerness. To the extent that I lacked these, friends and family reacted with skepticism when I told them I was queer. Even within queer groups, I felt pressured to verify my queerness by pretending interests and preferences that, in actuality, I lacked.

My mother was especially critical. She believed—and, perhaps, continues to believe—that people are either attracted to the same gender, or to the opposite gender. She doubts the reliability of those who, like me, describe gendernonbinary attractions. So, when I told her that I was queer, but not simply gay or straight, she told me that everyone experiments in college and admonished me to figure myself out in a few years. In an effort to prove that I was who I said I was, I pierced my ear, changed my wardrobe, and joined queer organizations at my college. I attempted to transform into someone who could plausibly be recognized as queer, but sacrificed authentic elements of my identity to do it.

Weathering this, though, has made me more apt to resist assumptions about both who belongs in a given group, and what group membership actually means. In my senior thesis, for instance, I analyzed the problem of in-group discrimination within minority religious groups. The groups I considered—targets of discriminatory state policies themselves—had committed injustices against their own members. However, because of their statuses as victims, their roles as offenders had gone understudied. I was better able to recognize this dual status because I had personally encountered the unusual circumstance of fighting against exclusion from the professedly inclusive category of LGBT+ individuals. I believe that the knowledge I gained from my experiences as a queer man who presents as straight will enable me to make similar contributions to the University of Chicago Law School community—scholastically and interpersonally.

vitusiak
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:28 am

Re: Diversity Statement Feedback/Parameters

Postby vitusiak » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:08 pm

Obviously I'm not an admissions officer, but I think the writing style is great. I'm maybe biased because I had similar experiences (though I reacted differently) but I really like it.

My initial reaction, however, was kind of confused. The paragraphs to me read as follows:
1) I do not conform to queer stereotypes and felt pressure from queer groups to conform
2) My mother was critical of my conformity to queer stereotypes and therefore didn't believe me about my queerness
(3a) [Missing: do you still conform? To what? What happened? What did you mean by "weather"?]
3) I am aware of groupthink now and have written academically about it.

The conclusion seems like a legitimate form of diversity, but the first two paragraphs explain the 'before' and don't explicate the how really at all. It's not so much that it doesn't focus on your experiences, but rather, it highlights too much of the before experiences. I almost have the impression that you still (although consciously now) conform to stereotypes you know you don't fit.

In particular:

I felt pressured to verify my queerness by pretending interests and preferences that, in actuality, I lacked.


and

I attempted to transform into someone who could plausibly be recognized as queer, but sacrificed authentic elements of my identity to do it.


Those are both unresolved in the conclusion, in my opinion. Have you reclaimed your authenticity from the queer peer pressure? Idk. I mean, you're writing this so probably, but it's not actually there in the text.

If I can go so far as to give you a suggestion; I'd change "weathering this" (which is hella vague) to something like "After reclaiming my authentic self, ...". My confusion would be resolved with just a small but definitive signal that you are no longer doing what you've identified as problematic.

All in all, I think your writing is polished and the transition to 'why I'm an asset to Chicago' is very smooth and appropriate.




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