Would it be right for me to write a diversity statement?

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BlueFeathers
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Would it be right for me to write a diversity statement?

Postby BlueFeathers » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:38 pm

I've skimmed what people in the past have said and I really don't know.

While I am a URM, on paper from my full name to my parents tax returns you wouldn't think so. So with that I don't know if I really should. My parents both have jobs in civil service and have been in it long enough to be on the higher end of the pay scale and with both salaries combined. When money finally did get tight thanks to tuition spikes we still don't qualify for loans because they make too much.

So basically, on paper I kind of look very white. So wouldn't a diversity statement make me look like a phony in a way? I mean, the only real challenge of diversity I've ever faced was in high school when I was one of 6 people of color in my class and for the first 2 years people literally asked stupid questions about why I didn't "act black."

Would that look bad for me if I wrote one? I really wouldn't know what to say.

cartercl
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Re: Would it be right for me to write a diversity statement?

Postby cartercl » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:52 pm

Just because you are a URM does not necessarily mean you have to write a diversity statement. Not every URM has is going to have something to write here.

Pip
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Re: Would it be right for me to write a diversity statement?

Postby Pip » Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:13 am

You don't have to be poor to be a URM.... so your parents income isn't going to come into play in deciding if they accept you or not. If you see a box on the schools application and check it fine... but even if you do you don't have to write about being a minority.

shoop
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Re: Would it be right for me to write a diversity statement?

Postby shoop » Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:40 am

I'm kind of in an opposite situation (blue-collar white, first generation college student, family was sorta poor but only because my parents had 9 kids on one income) and I'm also wondering whether a DS is legit for me. I never faced discrimination and I don't even think I really had it that bad--my parents always tried to give all their kids as many opportunities as possible--but the reality is that I've maybe worked harder to get to where I am than have most T14 applicants, some of whom might be URMs but from families with more comfortable financial circumstances.

I think the key to writing a good DS isn't so much what one's actual background/race is, but how well one can write about how life experiences have affected his/her perspectives and ambitions and what sort of fresh or uncommon views you bring to the school. If I write a DS, it would focus on how coming from small town and a non-professional family has helped me keep perspective about what is really important in life (hint: it's not money, because my family's been fine without much of it) and identify with America's working class, which is affected by the law just as much as any other group but tends to be underrepresented in the practice of it. Even if you don't feel you've experienced adversity as a result of your race, you could still write compellingly about how things like "why don't you act black?" moments have given you a better awareness of how race or other visible factors affect society's expectations of people.

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BaiAilian2013
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Re: Would it be right for me to write a diversity statement?

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:49 am

BlueFeathers wrote: I was one of 6 people of color in my class and for the first 2 years people literally asked stupid questions about why I didn't "act black."

There's your diversity statement. It's about diversity of experience as much as diversity of skin color, and this is an experience most white people will never have and need to learn from.

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Marionberry
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Re: Would it be right for me to write a diversity statement?

Postby Marionberry » Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:53 am

BaiAilian2013 wrote:There's your diversity statement. It's about diversity of experience as much as diversity of skin color, and this is an experience most white people will never have and need to learn from.


People always ask me why I don't act black...

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bk1
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Re: Would it be right for me to write a diversity statement?

Postby bk1 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:30 pm

Diversity statements are about showcasing a diverse experience. It does not necessarily need to be adverse. It doesn't matter how you look on paper, if anything a bland applicant on paper may help themselves immensely by showcasing their diversity in a DS.

Pip
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Re: Would it be right for me to write a diversity statement?

Postby Pip » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:47 pm

Marionberry wrote:
BaiAilian2013 wrote:There's your diversity statement. It's about diversity of experience as much as diversity of skin color, and this is an experience most white people will never have and need to learn from.


People always ask me why I don't act black...


Thinking back to my first year in law school I knew every AA in the class... and come to think of it... There was a group you would lump into the poor black background... the militant black, power to the people group... but only 1 that anyone would have ever described as "didn't act black" and his scores were so high I doubt he would have had any problem getting in regardless of whether he was checking a box for race.

So who knows... maybe the admissions people are looking for AA that fall into a group that fits some preconceived idea of "black". It is odd now that you brought up "acting black". I've know quite a few AA that would fall into the "don't act black" category outside law school but in law school they almost all seemed to fit into a stereo type... so maybe you should make your application look more like the stereo type that the admissions seems to look for.

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Marionberry
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Re: Would it be right for me to write a diversity statement?

Postby Marionberry » Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:02 pm

I was kidding. I'm as white as Full House.

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LAWLAW09
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Re: Would it be right for me to write a diversity statement?

Postby LAWLAW09 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:18 pm

It will look bad if a poor understanding of diversity leads to a poorly written diversity statement.

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ShuckingNotJiving
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Re: Would it be right for me to write a diversity statement?

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:35 pm

LAWLAW09 wrote:It will look bad if a poor understanding of diversity leads to a poorly written diversity statement.


Agreed. It will also look bad if poor understanding of what a diversity statement is leads to a poorly written diversity statement. You don't have to tell the story of the dismal urban youth just because you're a URM.

BlueFeathers wrote:So basically, on paper I kind of look very white. So wouldn't a diversity statement make me look like a phony in a way? I mean, the only real challenge of diversity I've ever faced was in high school when I was one of 6 people of color in my class and for the first 2 years people literally asked stupid questions about why I didn't "act black."


This may be the case for far more URM's applying to law schools than you think. You aren't deviating that far from the norm. I am bothered, however, by the suggestion that being financially stable makes you "look white."


You can't "look white" on paper if you maintain, on paper, that you aren't white.




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