Pitzer College Admission Essay Sample on Racial or Cultural Differences

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Pitzer College Application Essay Sample on Racial or Cultural Differences

Essay by Danielle Brown

"Lynching was ritualistic public square violence, part of a sordid history of white criminality" (Hakim Hasan). Looking out of the car window onto Crenshaw Boulevard, I do not see an angry mob cloaked in white, dancing on one of the street corners. Nor do I see towering willows ornamented with dangling bodies. As I look out of my window I see young African American boys flaunting diamond earrings that make their earlobes droop; young men and women bumping the latest "Jay-Z" song while bringing their twenty-inch rim-spinning Escalades to a halt at the red light. In the past, African Americans had coped with several acts of hatred, particularly lynching. Today my community is facing a new dilemma—one that is self-inflicted and a killer among African American youth. The mortality rate caused by "hip-hop lynching" increases everyday in my neighborhood. Illiteracy, materialism, degradation of women, and praise of drugs and sex are preached to youth through negative hip-hop music, which causes them to carry these immoral ideologies over to their everyday lives.

The immoral ideologies that are taking over my community verify society's blind following after incompetent leaders. As Carter G. Woodson once said, "If you allow a people to control the way you think, you do not have to assign them an inferior status, if necessary, they will seek it themselves." To escape these negative influences, I have joined College Bound, a program designed to prepare minority youth for college and leadership in their community. As of now, I am participating in the Rites of Passage, a program through College Bound designed to prepare seniors for college and adulthood. Although I approve of College Bound's goals to reach out to minority youth and guide them to academic success, there are not enough programs available to help the growing number of troubled minority children.

The community in which I live has had a significant influence on my outlook on life. Turning away from the misleading hip-hop "role models" that many of my contemporaries admire, I look up to the individuals who actually made a difference in their communities; leaders such as Marian Wright Edelman, Malcolm X, and Carter G. Woodson. Although I have found means of escaping immoral ideologies that are invading my community, I have chosen not to become a refugee of my neighborhood, but to give back what I can.

Currently, I am tutoring for a junior high remedial English class at my school. With our instructed trips to the library, I have gone beyond the expected vocabulary reviews and grammar sessions, stretching my abilities as a tutor to also assist as a mentor.

As we all know, in every rosebush there are thorns. From the moment I stepped into the paper-strewn English class, I knew the boisterous creator of this tumult would be difficult to work with. Although Veronica's aggressive and unruly temperament in the classroom intimidated her peers, this wild chimpanzee morphed into a tranquil panda while studying in the library. It was while I was helping Veronica with her Martin Luther King Jr. project that I learned something shocking. Despite his mass popularity and having read his biography, Veronica knew nothing about Dr. King. Straying away from the project, I went into depth about how important it is for young African Americans to know their history and those that shaped it. Although I eventually gave her some basic facts about Dr. King, I used Veronica's carefree attitude towards her project to indicate to her that she was not doing well in school not because of an inability to achieve but her unwillingness to succeed.

By working with younger children and influencing them to go beyond what hip-hop music preaches to them and to work further than the limits they set for themselves, I feel that I am able to affect the outcome of many lives that would have easily been sucked into the downward spiral brought on by negative messages given through hip-hop music. Volunteering for a summer camp at Pan Pacific Park in the past was a truly rewarding experience because of the affect I had on the youth in my neighborhood. My volunteering and current tutoring experiences have encouraged me to continue working with youth in my neighborhood, and I plan to continue to reach out to the youth in the community I will reside in throughout my college life. At my future college I intend to major in archaeology and minor in English.

Danielle Brown attends Pitzer College.

Essay Review

fighting the culture Hip-Hop

Autobiographical essays are solid gold when the writer can talk about something other than the affluent suburban upbringing typical of most students at selective colleges. Author Danielle Brown writes about aspects of the African American community, and in the process, illustrates the challenges she has overcome. She complements her critique of the culture of hip-hop with her dedication to enduring role models within the African American community, which she illustrates with her anecdote about the young girl she is tutoring.

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