Not a person of color, invited to Discovery Weekend
I've been invited to Discovery Weekend but I'm not a person of color. On my application, I identified myself as "Black OR African American" and beneath that, "Africa" because my father and many generations before him are from Africa. I've always considered myself to be half-African even though my skin color doesn't reflect that. We're not from "black Africa" but North Africa. I also checked "White" and beneath that, "Europe".
Is this a mistake? Does Smith expect me to be black?
There are so many ways that people see themselves and others, it can be confusing. I'd suggest you call the Admission Office and talk with them. They probably didn't quite know how to read the boxes you checked off so they wanted to invite you, just to make sure.
Are you French Algerian? I think Smith made the pretty reasonable assumption that you are bi-racial, and therefore checked multiple boxes to reflect that. It's pretty uncommon I'm guessing for them to get applicants from families of European descent who in past generations resided in Africa. It's much more common for them to get students with one black (or African American) and one white parent. Discovery weekend is for students of color, so while I doubt they would withdraw your invite, you should think about whether or not you really want to participate.
Well again, the purpose of Discovery Weekend is to help students of color, particularly those who have never been to the college or New England before, see that there is a community and a support network for them at Smith. It sounds like the OP probably has a very interesting ethnic background and family history, but that's not necessarily the same thing as being multi-racial, bi-racial, or a person of color. However, without knowing her, it's impossible to judge, nor would I wish to. If you self-identify as a person of color, and it's important to you to go to Discovery Weekend to network with other students of color and see what being a student of color at Smith will offer you, then by all means you should go.
The OP asked the question, does Smith expect her to to be black, and I think the answer reasonably is yes, based on those little boxes. Being "African-American" is not the same thing as being an African IN America (which could extend to being Arab, or a white African from Kenya or South Africa or Algeria for example), it's a specific term. So by checking the boxes that she checked, they are probably assuming she is at least partially black. That being said, being multi-racial myself, I'm very experienced with living a life where those boxes for race don't really apply to one's specific case. Who wants to fit in a tiny box anyway? So if it's the OP's choice to self-identify as a student of color for the purposes of attending Discovery Weekend, she should go for it. She should just put some thought into whether or not it's for her.
Thank you for your replies. I've decided not to attend...Since receiving my official acceptance from Smith with an invite to Discovery Weekend, I've been feeling really guilty/weird/undeserving of my acceptance. They couldn't possibly have admitted me solely on the assumption of my being biracial?
Well if that's what you're worried about, you can put your mind at ease. Smith doesn't admit anyone on the basis of their skin color. There are many bi-racial, multi-racial, multi-ethnic women at Smith, and many women who identify only with one race or ethnicity. They were admitted because they were outstanding students, with skills, interests, and experiences that the admissions office felt would enrich the school community. It sounds like your family has a unique background and history, and exposure to that and participation in that heritage makes you special. It's certainly an additional thing you bring to the table, in addition to your grades and test scores. But they accepted you because of the whole package that you put on the table, not because you checked one box on one small part of the form.
I'm assuming they send all students of color or who they think may identify as students of color an invite to Discovery Weekend. It doesn't mean anything about how they expect you to look or be when you get to campus. I'm sure they think that, in cases of doubt, better to offer the invitation than not, and then let students decide for themselves if it's something they want to participate in.
Open Campus (Thursday-Friday) is open to ALL admitted students, so you should come for that! Also, half North-African doesn't disqualify you from being a person of color, (as SmithieandProud said we don't always fit into neat little boxes) so if you wanted to stay and do Discovery Weekend as well, I doubt anyone would be angry with you!