Saturday, August 28, 2010

They aren't the world

JasonAfter a heroically productive day deep-cleaning and reorganizing my room in advance of the new school year, I spent yesterday evening immersed in the Class of 2012. It started with catching up with a first-year I'd already met, Jason (pictured), at Barcelona; then meeting up with others at a couple other bars before wandering to an East Rock house party where we were greeted with beer pong and a giant tub of punch.

I might be misjudging this entirely, but last year I remember noticing and hearing several other people observe that the class of 2010, the year ahead of me, seemed to be much frattier than my class. They more often had house parties and seemed to have a more masculine, slap-you-on-the-back camaraderie. That impression is naturally influenced by what I was personally exposed to, which itself is a factor of personal conditions, such as that most of my friends here are girls, that I was in a relationship for half the schoolyear, and that I lived with people who don't go to SOM, all of which wouldn't necessarily jibe with seeking out house parties. Anyway, it remains to be seen what kind of Class of 2012 culture emerges, but my initial exposures have me leaning toward fratty.

The class of '12 is also, quite honestly, noticeably whiter than mine. It's 20% U.S. minority; my class is 28%. I looked that up to get the exact numbers (here and here, if you're curious), but I didn't need to get exact numbers to make that assertion; it was hard to miss when I was on campus last week to TA a class. You'll notice, if you follow those links, that the article also adds that my class is 12% "under-represented U.S. minority," and the school declines to give such a statistic for the class of 2012. Draw your own conclusions.

The whiteness is even self-evident among the self-identified gay segment, as a sample. Looks like so far in the class of 2012 there are eight LGBT students, and all of them are American and white. In my class there are six/seven/eight-ish LGBT students, and only two of us are white Americans. A picture of the LGBT students in my class would look like standard generic marketing art.

I'm not being critical, just making an observation. Naturally, every class is going to be different and have a different makeup of students. As long as the school is reaching out to minority students fairly and earnestly, that's all they can do; eventually it comes down to whether those students choose to come, and that's out of any school's hands.

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