At a recent dinner, our Dean of Admissions at the medical school spoke about how being an African American student, she often faced assumptions that she was accepted “only because of affirmative action.” She found herself often taken aback both by assumptions said and unsaid. Her response to those prejudices was, as she said to “quietly break the curve,” meaning she would show up, ace the test, and not raise the issue with anyone. And slowly, people with those misinformed opinions realized their error and changed their minds.
“Quietly breaking the curve,” is a profound statement, not only because it connotes excelling in the face of adversity, but because it also embodies a profound level of maturity to not be bothered by others’ prejudice. It involves no shaming or malice toward the person with prejudice, only a demonstration of a more true reality. All while you continue on your path towards what you think is important in the world.
I was quietly blown away by the statement, and by how understatedly she said it.