Here is a copy of my diversity statement i plan to submit to schools. It is a rough draft but be as brutal as possible.
The way I talk is usually the first giveaway that I am not from Texas, but that’s about as good as it gets when trying to pinpoint where its from originally. The usual guesses range from somewhere in the east coast, New York, or the occasional Jamaica. I owe my unusual dialect to what I affectionately refer to as an “amalgamated mess” of an upbringing.
Listening closely, you detect a sudden hint of a foreign accent. I attribute this to having been born in Nigeria. I would describe growing up there as sleepy, as days were spent playing football with the neighborhood kids, and nights mingling with tourists on bar beach. Others have remarked that I am surprisingly well spoken. I lay the blame at the feet of England, where I spent my primary school years in London, from age 9 -13. The years spent there were highly influential, as I got my first taste of the western world, plus it was my first time being introduced to a culture completely different from what I grew up in. Finally, the usual slangs we all know pepper my speech, and this I blame on my years spent in the United States, from age 13 to the present. Emigrating here was a revelation, as this country has mostly shaped the person I am today.
Nigeria and England have left deep imprints in my upbringing that even I have trouble explaining. This initially caused fitting in to the culture of the United States to be difficult, as it was a jarring contrast to the to the life I had before. Life in England and Nigeria was much slower; here life seemed to pass at lightning speed. Diversity was never an issue in England, as I remember my primary school had students from France, Portugal, Spain, Columbia and the West Indies. In contrast, my high school days in Texas, diversity was a bit harder to come by, being one of only 5 African-American students in a mostly Caucasian graduating class of 300 plus. Fortunately, I learned early in life that adapting, accepting, and embracing was key to surviving in a different culture and this has allowed me to thrive here as well.
Growing up in three distinct cultures has afforded me a unique background and outlook on life that I believe is a valuable asset to the Duke law community. Being immersed in these cultures allows me to critique and discuss American policies as a foreigner, but also as a citizen, because I have experience from both lenses. Furthermore, living in these countries has enabled me to see firsthand the impact of policies that were enacted beyond the framework of the American legal system. In Nigeria, policy making had often had religious reasoning behind them, whereas in England, governmental policies often came from a socialistic framework. For example, at our time in London, the government was legally obligated to provide housing for us, as we had a family size that went beyond their legal requirements for government housing. The Duke community brings its own unique mores and values, one that I gladly look forward to the opportunity to enrich as well as learn from.
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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