So I'm thinking about using this as a diversity statement. Its been through a couple of drafts, but I think its needs at least one more draft, but I think I've done all that I can with it.
I'm looking for opinions about the topic as a whole...is it a good statement of my diversity?
Also, I think I got what I need to say in there, but I'm worried about the organization of the statement...
I hate the last sentence and am still looking for something else to say there to close it off better...
Thanks for any help
I hate to admit this, but my father used to embarrass me. He didn’t do it in the standard father-daughter ways; in fact, it was nothing he did that caused me to turn my head away uncomfortably. It was, however, the questions his mere presence presented that made such moments completely awkward for me. I vividly remember one day in elementary school after care that that my father picked me up instead of my mother. There he stood at the front door, in a simple suit and a bright tie looking entirely out of place. Upon seeing him, I rushed to gather my things hoping to avoid the inevitable questions. With my reaction time too slow; my peers had already made the connection between the mystery man standing at the door and me. “Is that your dad?” someone asked. Lacking the gall to deny my dad in front of his face, I was forced to reply affirmatively. And then came the expected, “Oh so you’re white?”
Too young to understand that being different wasn’t something to be ashamed of, I often denied my father. Changing the subject when he came up became like second nature to me. If my mind was not quick enough to deter my friends from the topic, I had an inventory of half-truths already prepared like my standard answer, “My dad is just light-skinned.” In the black community, being of a lighter complexion is regarded as advantageous, while being partially white leaves one uncategorized, and society loves nothing more than to be able to categorize people. Wanting to be grouped with those who I saw around me, I would have never been caught admitting to the fact that half my family is white. Though interracial relationships are more accepted and present now, in my Memphis neighborhood it was uncommon and regarded with unsympathetic eyes. Whenever I was out with my father, no matter where we were, there were always questioning eyes following us that seemed to ask, “why is this white man with this little black girl?” Not yet mature enough to withstand the gazes, I often refused to go places alone my dad, selfishly preferring to hurt him rather than endure the uncomfortable stares. The insecurity of always being watched made me feel constantly out of place as if society was trying to tell me that we were mismatched, that my father and I did not belong together.
Divorce and my teenage years created a physical and emotional distance between my father and I. Him being around less eased my discomfort about having to answer questions about my heritage. Now a part of a single-family home, I was more like those around me than ever. In my society, two parents are only preferable if those two parents are alike; my mixed family was deemed more unconventional than my single-parent home, which was becoming more standard in the black community. The transition to not having my dad around was easy because I was already seasoned at pretending he wasn’t a part of my life. I never really felt ashamed of this until one day I reluctantly visited him at work. His job in hospital administration at the XXX Hospital required him to know not only the ins-and-outs of the hospital, but also every employee he supervised. Upon arriving at the hospital, my dad greeted me with a big hug and kiss, displaying his fatherly affection for everyone to see. He introduced me to everyone we passed, proudly smiling when saying, and “this is my daughter”. He bragged about my grades, about my mediocre tennis career, and any other minute detail about me that came up in conversation. With every word he spoke about me, I could feel his love for me resonate through to them, and at the same time, his proud embracement of me emphasized my own selfish behavior of denying him.
There was no “ta-da” moment, no moment when I magically matured. The uncomfortable years of embarrassment did not disappear over night, but it started to lessen when I felt the shameless guilt that day in the hospital. To see the man whom I vehemently denied over the years show so much pride in me forced me to realize how immature I had been acting. To denounce my dad was to negate what makes me who I am. From him I have inherited some of my most prized qualities: my determination, my outgoing nature, and my confidence. I am now able to say that I am proud to call XXX my father, no longer mortified by his fair skin, grey eyes, and reddish-brown hair, but honored by his accomplishments as a person and a father. Dealing with the issue surrounding my father’s heritage forced me to take a deeper look at myself. No longer willing to hide who I am, I have grown immensely from that embarrassed little girl in afterschool care into a young woman honored by her unique ancestry. Believing that a lot of my success in life stems from this self-discovery, I am thankful for this struggle with my identity because it allowed me to truly find myself.