Diversity Statement

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
ht2988
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Diversity Statement

Postby ht2988 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:28 pm

My personal statement focuses more on my experiences as an addict and what my recovery process has been like. This is a very rough draft of my optional Diversity Statement. Please let me know what I can do to make this better and more pointed. I will gladly return the favor!

The morning after the 9/11 terrorist attacks I begged my parents to let me stay home from school. I was the only Muslim student in the entire seventh grade at an all white public school. I could remember all the way back to kindergarten taunts of “Saddam.” My parents’ response was the same as always, and Pakistani parents are always serious when it comes to school – “you must work hard on your studies so that you can get into a good university so that you can become a doctor, lawyer, or engineer.”

I arrived at school only to discover that my locker had been trashed and my belongings missing. I went to the principal’s office, but he was too busy being patriotic, planning one of many moments of silence. I met with the vice principal later on in the day after a jogger had found my ruined belongings in the woods next to the school. According to her, I was malingering for attention: I was so scared and angered by the events of 9-11, that I broke into school and destroyed my belongings in an effort to take attention away from the real American heroes. But the last thing I wanted was attention. What I really wanted was to blend in so that I could work hard on my studies so that I could get into a good university so that I could become a doctor, lawyer, or engineer.

Around the time of 9/11 I also began realizing that I was gay – and so did my peers. Cafeteria taunts went back and forth between “Saddam” and “[HI I'M THE WORD FILTER. THIS PERSON MIGHT BE A DICK.],” but always one or the other, never both. Nuanced in this harassment was the incommensurability between my sexuality and my race. At times I wanted to be neither, and I would have settled to be both, but I was always forced to be only one or the other. My Muslim community was not accepting of my homosexuality – but neither was my white American community.

In the years that followed I was unable to reconcile my conflicted identity and I eventually turned to drugs and anorexia in an attempt to escape the pain of always having to choose one part of my identity over the other. Up until then I had always been financially privileged and healthy, but my struggle with and recovery from addiction exposed me to an impoverished and dangerous lifestyle far beyond my imaginings. Addiction and anorexia resolved my identity conflict to the extent that they became my defining factors. I was no longer a Muslim struggling to be gay, or a gay boy struggling to be Muslim – for almost three years all that mattered was that I was an addict and anorexic.

After a year of extensive substance abuse and eating disorder treatment I was strong enough in my recovery to return to Kalamazoo College. I returned with acceptance for the fact that oftentimes multiple marginalized identities cannot be reconciled. I took it upon myself to re-structure my undergraduate education towards better understanding this incommensurability by completing the remainder of my undergraduate coursework in political theory and women’s studies. Concentrating in women’s studies has equipped me with a radical feminist lens through which I better understand identity formation and privilege. Concentrating in political theory has helped me better understand the political deployment of power and privilege amongst these identities. Together, these areas have forced me to think critically and creatively about solutions to the practical problems that ensue.

My education thus far has been liberating and has affirmed my diverse experiences. Not only will I bring my own diverse identity to ___________________________ Law School, but I will also bring with me an appreciation for the importance and utility of connecting academic theory with practical experience.

ht2988
Posts: 482
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:07 pm

Re: Diversity Statement

Postby ht2988 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:30 pm

It's supposed to say "f****t" instead of "gay man." Is that inappropriate for my application, or is it OK in this context?

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Marionberry
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Re: Diversity Statement

Postby Marionberry » Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:43 pm

It's kind of a downer, and it kind of places too much focus on you being a victim. Granted, that is probably true to an extent, but I think that's an angle you might want to avoid in your statements. It's a difficult line to walk when talking about overcoming adversity without sounding self-pitying, but I think it can be done. In fact, your personal statement did this very effectively. I would consider focusing more on the different perspectives you bring as opposed to the diversity you have overcomed, I think your PS captures that pretty well.

Also, i don't know about using the word f***** in a LS application, but maybe err on the side of caution? Dunno.

ht2988
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Re: Diversity Statement

Postby ht2988 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:48 pm

Thanks, Marion. That's something I thought of while writing this draft, but was unable to figure out how to catch that balance and maintain a good length. Hopefully my creative juices will be flowing better after this damn LSAT on Saturday!

BU2013
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Re: Diversity Statement

Postby BU2013 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:55 pm

Yeah dude. I know it's like your life...and well, it sucks that you lived it, but think of the total package.

If your PS is already about addiction, writing a DS that focuses on hardships faced because of discrimination might be a big chunk of negative. Not every DS has to be about overcoming hardship, it can be about cross-cultural learning, or respect, or stuff like that. Given what I can infer about your PS, scrap this and go in a Happier direction.

And IMO, it is only okay to use "[HI I'M THE WORD FILTER. THIS PERSON MIGHT BE A DICK.]" in the context of "The woman in the car called me a [HI I'M THE WORD FILTER. THIS PERSON MIGHT BE A DICK.]". The way you are speaking, "between Saddam and [HI I'M THE WORD FILTER. THIS PERSON MIGHT BE A DICK.]", it is YOUR word choice, and it reflects poorly on you, as opposed to some other ignorant persons choice that reflects poorly on them. Also, use "[HI I'M THE WORD FILTER. THIS PERSON MIGHT BE A DICK.]", get's your point across, but for some reason it feels less like the "N-Word"

shoop
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Re: Diversity Statement

Postby shoop » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:42 am

I've been really curious to see how your DS came out... you've mentioned it a couple times in threads about your PS.

One possible work-around to the word-usage issue could be to say something like "Cafeteria taunts went back and forth between “Saddam” and another 2-syllable insult with a doubled consonant in the middle, but always one or the other, never both."

Maybe see if there is a technical word for the "dd" and "gg" occurrences, to use instead of "doubled consonant" just in case some reader is having a really dense day, doesn't put together the "gay" mention in the previous sentence and the mention of it being an insult, and just takes it as "two consonants of any persuasion one after another" and misses the point.

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Marionberry
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Re: Diversity Statement

Postby Marionberry » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:50 am

I think that would be too ambiguous. What if they thought he meant "muppet"?

Also, and this is just my opinion, but maybe you don't need to discuss being taunted and insulted as a kid. I think that, more than anything, kind of plays into the pity party thing that you want to avoid. I think just discussing the fact that you grew up a gay muslim kid in a public high school is more than enough for the reader to figure out that you were probably ostracized at times. I'm thinking it should be more about how you're diverse and what you can offer as opposed to the shit you had to put up with for it.

Also, not to in any way dismiss everything you had to deal with, but a lot of people with considerably less diverse backgrounds had to put up with similar shit as kids, albeit probably to a lesser degree. Really try to focus on what it is about you, currently, that makes you unique. Talk about how your past experiences shaped that, but I don't think you need to make it the focus. Maybe talk about how being exposed to that shit made you a more compassionate, tolerant person.

Again, just my .02. I think if your DS is half as good as your personal statement you'll be in great shape. And good luck on Saturday!

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whirledpeas86
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Re: Diversity Statement

Postby whirledpeas86 » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:10 am

Personally, I have the words "dyke" and "f****t" in my DS. I was torn about whether or not to include them, but ended up going for it because it's from a direct quote.

username99
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Re: Diversity Statement

Postby username99 » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:30 pm

I like this a lot better than your personal statement - why not just use this as your personal statement and add a bit more about how it translates toward law.

ht2988
Posts: 482
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:07 pm

Re: Diversity Statement

Postby ht2988 » Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:56 pm

Thank you all for the helpful feedback. I'm not yet sure how to strike the balance many of you argue for, but I'm going to give it some thought.

Username- what do you find more appealing in or about this DS vs. my PS?

username99
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Re: Diversity Statement

Postby username99 » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:15 pm

A few things. I think it's more straightforward. I also think that rightly or wrongly, admissions committees may be much more comfortable with your being gay and Muslim than they would be with your addiction and illnesses. I also think you lay things out more effectively and in much less space in your diversity statement than your ps. Do you disagree?




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