Its all about perspective. What do you see?

For the second project, the first thing that popped into my mind to write about was my common application essay. I chose the prompt that allowed me to write a 500-word essay about whatever I wanted. At first I struggled with finding a subject and then I thought back to a time that really struck me as important in my life.

There were two initial instances where I realized that I was the only black girl in a sea of white faces. When I was in the 11th grade I went on a trip to Italy where I experienced some forms of racism for the first time (or at least the first time that I was knowledgeable enough to recognize them). It made me very uncomfortable and  no one else could relate to me because the people in Italy were not treating them the same way they were treating me.  Then we took a picture of the group and it was that day that I saw myself through eyes looking in. I was in a crowd of people who looked different than me and realized that day I was indeed a black girl.

When in Italy I found myself writing in my journal alot more than usual because I had no one to relate to. I took note of how I was treated, and observed the actions and reactions of others. When it was time to write my common app essay I knew that this would be a topic that I should expound on because it helped me to find strength and comfort in a word as lonely as only. I wrote the essay about what I really saw to be who I was. A brown girl and the only brown girl. I did not call myself black or African American, but rather I wrote about exactly what I saw, brown.

Looking back in retrospect, I see how relevant being brown was to me at that time and I also see how it has informed my decisions and involvement in my community. I am now the President of the Pretty Brown Girls Club at U of M. Not the pretty BLACK girls but the pretty BROWN girls. This is such a coincidence that I feel I was destined to talk/write about seeing color, colorism, and what those things mean when put into perspective. I am now also the only Brown girl in my major which because of my past expeience I am equipt to deal with. Race is one thing but Color is another. I want to write about color, differences and perspective. Those are all three topics that have interested me in the recent past and all come up in some form or another in my common app essay written over 2 years ago.

2 thoughts to “Its all about perspective. What do you see?”

  1. Hi Ayana! You and I both want to use our common application essays for our projects. I think that your essay seems extremely powerful and would be a great piece to work with. How do you think you are going to re-purpose your essay? I think that focusing on color, differences and perspective will be a good place to start. I’m excited to see how your project turns out!

  2. It seems to me you have picked out a topic that you care a lot about and that you will definitely be able to talk a lot about. That’s fundamental for this project and the rest of this semester, so you’re in very good shape. I am interested to see where you will take this idea and what the final product will be. I think your first-hand experience and care about the subject will make this a special project for you, and hopefully anyone who reads it will come away with a new or revised perspective on these kinds of issues.

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