New Diversity Statement

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mwhuzain
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:27 am

New Diversity Statement

Postby mwhuzain » Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:40 pm

On the sound advice of A. Nony Mouse, I scratched my last diversity statement. Here's what I came up with. I'm afraid it's too much of a ps, but I can't replace my original ps. Maybe when I gain some courage I'll post it. For now, though, please let me know what you think of this and if it can pass as a ds:


“Eight.” I couldn’t take more than a thirty-second breather without hearing it. “Eight, Matthew, it’s good tagine,” he said, digging into our pot with fingers and bread. My stomach was about to burst, but I knew I couldn’t stop. As a Palestinian-American born to a father from the Middle East, I was raised knowing that you never turn down an Arab’s hospitality, especially when it comes to food.
“More tea? More Fanta?” I had already had a few cups worth of each, satiety was quickly turning to stomach pain. Oh, and by cups I mean an empty yogurt singlet and a water bottle cut in half. Muhammad was poor. Moroccan poor, not American poor. I didn’t know this when I cautiously accepted his invitation to iftar, the first meal of the day for him and all other Muslims fasting for Ramadan. I suppose the gesture’s weight would’ve been clear earlier on. The dirty floor with no furniture, absence of electricity and abundance of cockroaches definitely made it clear, though. Let me back up.
My student visa was about to expire. I had to exit France and the Schengen area to obtain a tourist visa upon reentering Paris. Tangier was cheap an exotic, so I went there; alone. It was the latter half of my two-night stay when yet another older Moroccan struck up a conversation with me while walking the Medina. “Here we go again,” I thought to myself as I waited for him to steer me towards his friends shop, or even more probably, offer me a tour for a few euros. Neither came though, only conversation; a pidgin of English and French. Then I got the dinner invitation.
After buying some time in order to get to better know him, I accepted. His smile was infectious. We backtracked so he could buy a packet of generic powdered orange drink—the “Fanta.” The cab ride to the outskirts of town took about twenty minutes. Before entering his studio I customarily washed my feet and face in the common bathroom adjacent. Another ninety minutes passed before he lit up the grounded boilerplate in the corner of the room. The grease from meals passed was caked on nice and tight, and the dish used for the appetizer (mutton chops) was only briefly rinsed. The sun had set: Allahhhu Akbar blasted through the battery-powered stereo, cutting into the song without remorse. A big firework—sounding like a cannon blast—and muffled cheers joy came from all sides of town. It was time to eat.
When I tell this story to my friends and family, they don’t understand how a Christian with a physical appearance as American as apple pie could A) be invited, and B) accept an invitation to this “sort of thing.” Here’s my answer: “why not?” I met a person, spoke with a person, “eight” with a person and ultimately befriended a person. Pretty understandable to me. I’ve shared meals with so many kinds in so many places. From influential tenant/landlord attorneys at Beverly Hills restaurants to gang members in juvenile hall. With the future in-laws at the top of the Eifel Tower to long-lost cousins in Bethlehem. There’s common ground everywhere I turn. Because no matter race, religion or disposition, we are simply people. Imperfect and beautiful people.

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jselson
Posts: 6337
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:51 am

Re: New Diversity Statement

Postby jselson » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:26 am

I'm sorry, and no offense, but this is really pretentious - you aren't special or "diverse" because you once ate dinner with a poor person, no matter the country. And the knocking of your "American friends" is really off-putting, since the way you've written it 1) implies that this is how "Americans" in general view things, 2) it's classist as heck, and 3) you're pretty condescending towards your host here, as well, so don't think that this statement makes you look better than your friends. And if you're writing your DS to look "better" than others, you're doing it wrong.

Think of it this way: I'm from the South. I didn't write a DS, but if I had, the last thing I would've written about would have been the (hypothetical) time when a friend invited me to dinner at his trailer out in the middle of nowhere. And I REALLY wouldn't have spent half my time talking about how disgusting the trailer was.

I'd scrap this approach entirely. Focus on something like personal growth, don't humblebrag about being in the presence of a poor person.

mwhuzain
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:27 am

Re: New Diversity Statement

Postby mwhuzain » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:50 am

jselson wrote:I'm sorry, and no offense, but this is really pretentious - you aren't special or "diverse" because you once ate dinner with a poor person, no matter the country. And the knocking of your "American friends" is really off-putting, since the way you've written it 1) implies that this is how "Americans" in general view things, 2) it's classist as heck, and 3) you're pretty condescending towards your host here, as well, so don't think that this statement makes you look better than your friends. And if you're writing your DS to look "better" than others, you're doing it wrong.

Think of it this way: I'm from the South. I didn't write a DS, but if I had, the last thing I would've written about would have been the (hypothetical) time when a friend invited me to dinner at his trailer out in the middle of nowhere. And I REALLY wouldn't have spent half my time talking about how disgusting the trailer was.

I'd scrap this approach entirely. Focus on something like personal growth, don't humblebrag about being in the presence of a poor person.

Don't you're sorry, that's why I posted looking for advice. I'm gonna drown this one in the tub, too.




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