Had my first back-to-school meeting today with the Residential Life team. All the housemasters and assistants met and discussed what kind of culture we have here at Lawrenceville. Over the summer we read “Whistling Vivaldi” a book, which details the reality of stereotype threat, a phenomenon in which members of minority cultures’ performances are impacted when cultural cues indicating negative stereotypes are present.
Changing a culture is always a difficult thing because it’s never as black and white as our simple minds want it to be. Systems are so complex and the reason things are the way they are cannot be pinpointed to one cause. You can’t just put a “fix” in place. It involves a different kind of approach, I think. One in which everyone must be willing to discuss their relationships to themselves, to each other, to the school, and maybe even to the society which they feel has shaped them.