1) How do you think the administration deals with issues of diversity on campus?
- In the mid to late 80’s black students did not feel part of the campus so they wrote a letter to ask for an advisor, now we have 35 clubs and those are there for affirmation. There is a difference between affirmation and raising awareness. How can people deal with issues of race outside of the classroom? After you talk to that 5th white girl who doesn’t get [something about your race] you begin thinking maybe it’s not them it’s you. I think through speakers and mandatory classes besides PACE we can raise awareness about issues of diversity.
2) Would you say the student body is well integrated? If not, how do we increase integration on campus.
- Diversity is everywhere at this school if you take advantage of it. If you are in a minority, most people are trying to blend in with the majority. The majority of integration here is by choice. Andover promotes youth from every corner and a real commitment to diversity and equity but most of it is by choice no one is forced to integrate and honestly if a student choses not to, they could go 4 years without ever interacting fully with a student or faculty of another race. Black students on the other hand, simply by being the minority can never get away with it. They spend all day integrating and integrating and integrating, then when they go back and hang out with the people they are comfortable with, people who they don’t have to be so conscious with about what they say and how they act, other students start to call them out and say “the black kids keep to themselves”
3) Where would you say the biggest problem with diversity at Andover lies?
- I hear often that stereotypes annoy students especially the ones that come out in little ways. Some of them are micro-aggressions that after a while become like paper cuts that bite away at you. For example, the stereotype that all black students are on financial aid. Other examples are when white students do not recognizing that the Andover experience is different for black students. Even if you are willing to date interracially the guys are only interested in the skinny blonde girls. It’s not the straight out racism like “no you can’t come with us or you cant join this we don’t want this in our club.” It’s the stereotypes that are the problem. Like “oh you are black you can dance.” People say that is a positive stereotype. There is no such thing as a positive stereotype what if you are the kid who can’t dance then you are wondering why you cant if you are black and all black kids can dance. There are 50 million ways to be black in America and we don’t all fit in a box. A lot of it has to do with the boxes people put you in simply because they don’t interact with people of color. The problem then begins when students begin to feel bad about themselves because of their race. There is a certain isolation the loneliness when you think other people don’t understand your experience and you feel like your experience isn’t validated isn’t real and that is dehumanizing.
4) Do you think self-segregation based on race and or class is a problem at this school and if so how do you think it should be addressed.
- I don’t believe in self-segregation. If I want to sit at a table with a bunch of black women that’s not self segregating that is me sitting at a table with people I relate to. No one sees a problem with the football team sitting together.
5) In time, how would you like to see Andover, both the school and the administration address diversity.
- I’d like to see a more extensive orientation program around issues of race something that is part of the co-curriculum, so when you graduate you can say you truly had a diverse cultural Andover education. I think we need required curriculum.