The Dream of Diversity

The Dream of Diversity
Brian Li ’17 • April 18, 2014

As a former student of an American school in Shanghai, China, I am somewhat unfamiliar with the experience of being at a traditional US high school. The student body of the school I previously attended was largely composed of kids like myself – Chinese kids strongly influenced by American culture. In other words, I did not know what a diverse, international community really looked like.

During the application process to Lawrenceville in the eighth grade, I happened upon this novel concept of a racially and culturally diverse school community. This was one of the things about Lawrenceville that appealed to me the most – the idea of being able to live with and bond with kids who have had vastly different experiences from my own. The school’s Admissions Philosophy states that “Lawrenceville actively seeks a student body that is racially, geographically, and socioeconomically diverse and welcomes applicants from all backgrounds.” Additionally, Lawrenceville strives to “provide a multicultural environment where students from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to learn from, with, and about one another.” Up until that point, my friends and I, for the most part, had experiences similar to mine. I was curious about the idea of living in an environment where backgrounds differed from dorm room to dorm room.

In fact, Lawrenceville’s diversity was the selling point for me. I decided to jump into a completely new environment full of completely new people from all around the world – thousands of miles away from home. I was excited to make friends with people who were racially or culturally diverse. In the fall of 2013, I came to Lawrenceville with an open mind, expecting to find a diverse community of individuals representing a wide spectrum of backgrounds, all brought together by the school. And I found it. I met kids from the Dominican Republic to all the way on the other side of the world in Korea. There were kids from Virginia, Arizona, Massachusetts, and so many other American states.

However, as I entered Lawrenceville, there were also many things I did not expect. There was a culture in the school that was completely new to me, summarized aptly with the term “preppy.”Of course, I understood that the school I was going to was a preparatory school. However, I wasn’t exactly aware of what all that truly meant.

At first, I felt out of place and simply did not feel like I belonged in a “prep” school. I immediately began noticing the conspicuous formation of cliques by people with similar interests and backgrounds. This was another relatively new concept – in my old school, cliques were not so glaringly transparent. At Lawrenceville, cliques were so much more defined. These cliques created clear divisions between people who were from different backgrounds. And, in terms of diversity, the demographics at Lawrenceville are not as cosmopolitan as I’d thought they would be. Years ago, the average Lawrentian was privileged, Protestant, and deeply involved in athletics; that conception still holds today. Lawrenceville, in many ways, hasn’t changed much since the twentieth century – it really is a seemingly homogenous, fancy American prep school after all.

Moreover, Lawrenceville touts this faux “diversity” incessantly. But when I look around, I don’t see much of it. Music performances and dances involving foreign culture are rarely held on campus. Students moan and groan about having to go to chapel-related functions and learn about world religions. Gender-neutral bathrooms, seemingly innocuous facilities designed to accomodate a diverse range of gender identities, have been lampooned and ridiculed.

I am still a freshman and have three more years left with this school; with the experiences still left ahead, I may begin to perceive the diversity at Lawrenceville differently. But at this point, it seems, Lawrenceville has yet to discover what it means to be a truly diverse community.

Here’s the racist, xenophobic Lawrenceville open letter to alumns:

Also of special note is that of ‘legacy’ applicants and the special attention that may or may not be given currently to such applicants and their respective families by Admissions. The history and the importance of legacy to Lawrenceville is so well documented – – – through generations the legacy factor no doubt has provided a stable and positive influence.

What Happens When A Prep School’s Black Student President Mocks Her White Male ClassmatesThe Prep School Negro

Black Boy White School, Brian F. Walker

The treatment of Sudanese immigrants in Maine really plays a critical role in the story. How did you decide to give this immigrant group such prominence? Have you seen things change for the Sudanese?
I teach a unit in one of my English classes that takes a look at the Somali presence in Lewiston. I found it fantastic and fascinating that so many Somalis would choose Lewiston, Maine as a place to settle in the USA. As you may know, there was (and still is) a great deal of tension in Lewiston after so many Somalis settled down there. I just took that tension, put the fictitious school near the town, and rode it out. Also, admittedly, when I was a prep school student a bunch of townies really did march through our campus, dressed like the Klan and shouting racial slurs, before they planted a burning cross on one of our soccer fields. I have heard that over the last couple of years things have gotten better for the Somali and Sudanese folks in Lewiston, which is great. There are still, however, some things that can be improved.

Southgate’s ‘Fall of Rome’: if Horatio Alger knew irony

I don’t trust white people, myself included, to make sensitive judgments about the consciousness of being black. Nor do I trust myself to judge books by people I’ve known and been fond of – or, at least, I don’t expect others to trust my judgment in such cases. Thus, there are two reasons I should not write here about The Fall of Rome, a novel by Martha Southgate (Scribner, 223 pages, $23). But having read Southgate’s book, I am so impressed that I shall fly in the face of those cautions.

Heroic Frenzies

Giordano Bruno: Cause, Principle and Unity: And Essays on Magic
Edited by Richard J. Blackwell and Robert de Lucca
Introduction by Alfonso Ingegno

Introduction, xxv–xxvi

Bruno distinguishes between two types of contraction achievable by man. Contraction is a phenomenon through which the soul, by concentrating on itself, can realize particular powers; but this can have an opposite effect if it is directed towards a higher contemplative level or if it is carried out so as to render us no longer masters but servants of our imagination, and thus exposed to demonic influence. Here Bruno echoes Ficino in his exemplification of various types of contraction; but instead of calling them ‘vacationes animi’, as Ficino had done, he gives them a name which allows him to incorporate this phenomenon into the metaphysical structure governing our consciousness.22

The point of distinction between the two forms of contraction is therefore represented by the intermediate cognitive faculties which turn the data of sensibility into figments of our imagination. This distinction, and the separation into two distinct levels of humanity, find their exemplary expression in the Cabala del cavallo pegaseo (The Cabala of Pegasus) and in The Heroic Frenzies. The Cabala outlines the characteristics of the man who, faced with the difficulty of searching for the divine, freely renounces his superior faculties, those which make us really human, and contracts his cognitive powers into the single one of hearing, to passive reception alone. Thus stripped of all power of judgment and reduced to the animal condition of an ass, he can no longer tell if his rider is a god or a demon – an allusion to a famous line from Luther’s De servo arbitrio, aimed at denying the very possibility of our freedom. This is the reason why, in The Heroic Frenzies, he praises the ‘divine seal’ of the ‘good contraction’.23 We have seen that, in this work,24 the metaphysics of Cause are translated in terms of the highest experience which man can have, of contemplation of the divine by means of an adequate image of it. Bruno claims, however, that this can be attained only by someone whose mind is constrained by two bonds (vincula): love, and the highest intelligible species which divinity could present to his eyes (i.e. beauty and the goodness of nature). In relation to the action of these two vincula, the ‘divine seal’ of the ‘good contraction’ acquires an essential importance: divinity, in fact, yields and communicates itself to us only at a level proportionate to our receptivity of it. Therefore, it is always our responsibility to intervene in the passive moment of our consciousness so as to raise ourselves above that moment, actualizing the infinite potency which is within us.

This leads Bruno back to the distinction between two types of humanity, those who fall victim to demonic deception and those who, rising above the level of the multitude, overturn the scale of values in which humanity believes and set out to attain the level of a heroic humanity.

Shaping Anglo-Saxon Lordship in the Heroic Literature
of the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries
John Hill, US Naval Academy
The Heroic Age, Issue 3, Summer 2000

Abstract: Most scholars of Anglo-Saxon heroic story think of that literature as embodying conventional virtues (generosity, bravery, boasting), obligations (to kin and lord) and conflicts of loyalty. This overview of a contrary view stresses the political nature of those stories — whether in prose or poetry — and argues, essentially, for the reformation of traditional codes and obligations. That reformation has the strengthening of lordship and, ultimately, of kingship in mind. The reshaping of traditional codes begins in the literary record during the period of Alfred’s father and grandfather, early to mid-eighth century, and continues down to the end of the eleventh century.

Mucusless Diet Healing System
Arnold Ehret

In my first published article I promulgated the gigantic idea that the white race is an unnatural, a sick, a pathological one. First, the colored skin pigment is lacking, due to a lack of coloring mineral salts; second, the blood is continually over-filled by white blood corpuscles, mucus, waste with white color; therefore the white appearance of the entire body.

The skin pores of the white man are constipated by white, dry mucus; his entire tissue system is filled up and filled out with it. No wonder that he looks white and pale and anaemic. Everybody knows that an extreme case of paleness is a “bad sign.” When I appeared with my friend in a public air-bath, after having lived for several months on a mucusless diet with sun baths, we looked like Indians, and people believed that we belonged to another race. This condition was doubtless due to the great amount of red blood corpuscles and the great lack of white bloody corpuscles. I can notice a trace of pale in my complexion the morning after eating one piece of bread.


Sodium/potassium/calcium exchanger 5 (NCKX5), also known as solute carrier family 24 member 5 (SLC24A5), is a protein that in humans is encoded by the SLC24A5 gene that has a major influence on natural skin colour variation. The NCKX5 protein is a member of the potassium-dependent sodium/calcium exchanger family. Sequence variation in the SLC24A5 gene, particularly a non-synonymous SNP changing the amino acid at position 111 in NCKX5 from alanine to threonine, has been associated with differences in skin pigmentation. The SLC24A5 gene’s derived threonine or Ala111Thr allele (rs1426654]) has been shown to be a major factor in the light skin tone of Europeans compared to Africans, and is believed to represent as much as 25–40% of the average skin tone difference between Europeans and West Africans.[4][1] It has been the subject of recent selection in Western Eurasia, and is fixed in European populations.

Victorian Demons: Medicine, Masculinity, and the Gothic at the Fin-de-siècle
Andrew Smith, Introduction

This book is a study of constructions of masculinity in a range of medical, cultural and Gothic narratives at the fin de siècle. My principal argument is that the final decades of the nineteenth century provide a particularly complex set of examples of how the dominant masculine scripts came to be associated with disease, degeneration and perversity. By exploring theories of degeneration, sexological writings, and medical writing on syphilis at the time, it is possible to see how such a pathologisation of the ostensibly dominant masculine scripts becomes developed in scientific, quasi-scientific, and literary contexts… It has become somehwat of a commonplace to argue that the fin de siècle was characterised by crisis, and I want to pursue a different line of enquiry by suggesting that, in part, this notion of crisis was staged within the dominant masculinist culture, rather than that this culture was thrown into crisis by external threats to it… For Adams [Dandies and Desert Saints], such pressures meant that men sought to establish new masculine identities which operated beyond the traditional, patriarchal domestic spaces. A new form of masculinity, one associated with Empire, for example, therefore became constructed during the period… Hendershot [The Animal Within] claims that ‘One area that has served a crucial site for defining modern masculinity has been science. As the Gothic troubles stable notions of the body, so it invades the objective discourse of science. [The Gothic scientist uncovers the destructive man lurking beneath the exterior of the respected positivist. Gothic science reveals horror by opening the laboratory door, inviting the audience to indulge its darkest suspicions regarding the maker of the modern world — the empirical scientist.]’ (p. 69).