October 2021 Issue

Humans of Campus Life Series

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Jess Deutsch, Associate Director, Student-Athlete Services

Person looking at the face into the camera.

Jess Deutsch, Associate Director, Student-Athlete Services

Which identities are you most proud of? 

Mom… wife… sister... daughter… friend… advisor… colleague… and teammate. As a white woman aware of my identity as a Jewish person, I more recently name what I am not proud of –  a too-long lack of awareness about how whiteness has worked. I have done a lot of reading and wrestling, listening and re-thinking. I am driven to use my unprivileged identities to have empathy, self-awareness, and understanding, and to use my skills, education, and voice to amplify and try to be in the mix of uncomfortable and necessary reflection and action.

What kind of household/family did you grow up in and how did this impact your identities?

I grew up in a family where things looked good from the outside. My dad was a doctor taking care of most of our town. My mom was busy and happy doing photography and taking care of us. My sister was musically talented, I was smart, and my brother was fun. Beneath the surface were more complicated, unspoken realities. I grew up invested in the performance, without language for depression or anxiety. Eventually, that didn’t hold up. I am grateful, in retrospect, for the breaking apart.  It drove me to seek out or at least to not run away from grey areas and intersections.