I asked my friend Sara Green to answer this one — she’s an expert.
Hey! It’s really neither. Instead what you have is sort of an awkwardness when questions or comments about race are brought up. My experience has been that people would rather not talk about race- students of color and white students alike. Alas, hope is alive! Recently, there has been a small group of students that is creating spaces to talk about race in academic and student-led spaces. I could talk forever about race at Bennington. Email me if you want to keep talking; there are a lot of intricacies in the conversation. (email@example.com)
It’s actually been a very diverse experience for me. Even though we have a small international population, the size of the school makes it possible to have real meaningful conversations with people about their lives and experiences.
The same is true for all individuals regardless of background. There are some pretty amazing people here who may be represented as caucasian in terms of demographic but who have been shaped by experiences in other countries and have their own menagerie of crazy interesting stories.
This term I’m doing a discussion group on race with a friend who is now a junior. The demographic is mixed: half of the group is white, a sixth is black and a third is mixed, but everyone contributes very meaningful things to the conversations we have. That’s been my general experience at Bennington as a black international student. People actually have a lot to offer from their life experiences and are willing to do that regardless of their demographic representation.
That being said, I’m aware that I probably have more contact with the international community than the average Bennington student but it’s really up to you what kinds of conversations you have and the people you choose to learn from.
p.s. Intercultural Festival = colourful, loud, dance, music, fun, cultural representation out the wazoo