Diane Williams Profile

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Diane William’s writing: An analysis of alumna works

Continued from News (page)

Here is an example of her writing:

Diane really opens up about how she truly feels about Muhlenberg and the world she was living in. Muhlenberg, lacking any type of color, was very hard for Diane and the other Black students because for many of them it was the first time they had been in an environment that was all white. Diane mentions four main groups of people on campus, which are: “those who just do not give a damn; the beautiful people who care about humanity; the racist pigs; and the confused n******. The last group is the one which bothers me most,” she wrote in The Muhlenberg Weekly during the 1969-70 academic year. She saw these groups as a microcosm of the United States. The reason she was so concerned with the latter group was because Black students were just thrown into a huge ocean of white people, and were expected to survive without guidance. I assume that she hated how Black people had to go through college without having the white “cultural knowledge” of how to act a certain way to fit into this very white, white world. She was upset that she was so confused by these different norms. She couldn’t just be her true, authentic self because she would stand out even more, looking as if she didn’t know anything, at least that’s how she thought white people would look at her. 

There was and still is so much pressure for each Black person to be the spokesperson/representative of their community. If one Black person speaks wrongly and is not perfect around a white person, then white people just automatically assume and generalize that all Black people are the same. Unfortunately, it’s all about image. How does one appear to a white person? Are they following the majority’s etiquette, etc? This was very important because if one were not to follow these norms, they were then looked down upon, seen as stupid, and had the possibility of not being given as many opportunities due to the lack of understanding of a culture that was not theirs. Diane hated how Black students were forced to manipulate and change themselves so that they could be seen as human, and as decent people. This is why she felt it was her role, and other Black students’ roles as well, to speak up and vocalize their concerns and struggles so they could be heard for once. Diane felt it was important to express one’s self and have a voice because that is how change happens. Diane spoke up for what she believed in and encouraged others to do so as well, hence the reason why she wrote in The Muhlenberg Weekly; so someone would hear her.

This was just a little preview to who Diane Williams was, you can learn more this Saturday, Sept. 24 at 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. where I will be presenting my summer research project on Diane in the CA. Feel free to stop by to learn more or to say hi.

(P.S. Be on the lookout for some Diane Williams merch and other things.)

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