What I Learned: How Diversity Benefits Privileged People Like Me | Princeton Alumni Weekly

I was recently asked to write a piece for the Princeton Alumni Weekly. In it, I share a bit about my experience as an undergraduate at Princeton, what I learned while I was there as well as what I’ve learned in the years since – especially about diversity, race, and privilege. Diversity offers real and important opportunities to the “overprivileged” young women and men who come from backgrounds like mine.

As I say in the piece,

For me, seeking out diverse relationships meant welcoming discomfort and discord. It meant embarking on an uneasy and ongoing journey to confront simplistic narratives, to confront prejudice, to confront privilege.

The article begins like this:

When I entered Princeton in the mid-1990s, I embodied the stereotypical student. I was eager and earnest and studious. I was also white, I had attended a private boarding school, my parents were married, and I came to Old Nassau with generations of family members who had graduated from Ivy League institutions before me.

At the beginning of sophomore year, I took an African American literature class on a bit of a whim. I had loved Toni Morrison’s Beloved in high school, so I selected a class where I could read it again. Gina Dent’s 10 a.m. lectures quickly became my favorite time of the week. The class combined something very familiar — discussing the intricacies and arguments of a literary text — with something foreign to me — the experience of black life in America.

Read the rest of the Princeton Alumni Weekly article here.


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