university

‘Dear White Academics …’ | Vitae

“Wow, you’re so articulate.”
“Are you the cleaning lady?”
“Do you have a Ph.D.?”
“James? What’s your real Asian name?”

Dear White People

You’ve heard or heard of statements like these. Students and scholars call them “microaggressions”—casual, everyday comments and questions that might not rise to the level of a verbal altercation or a physical beatdown, but are rooted in stereotyping and racially-biased assumptions nevertheless.

Some microaggressions are obvious. But it can take a well-tuned ear to perceive the subtleties and nuances in others. The people delivering coded comments might actually intend them as compliments, not realizing that they are holding on to stereotypes that are invisible to them.

As a returning African American and retired Systems Engineer student, after 20 years absence from academia, these microaggressions, not only by whites but surprisingly from other African American professors, raised my blood pressure. The first two weeks with an unfamiliar professor was a tight rope walk between maintaining respect for their proficiency and battling their cultural and class ignorance.

I must add to the author’s short list of microaggressions with these.

The patronizing African American father,
“I know your struggle. We were so poor…”

First day of class,
“You might want to take an easier class.”

The Master’s research meeting,
“We may want to refer to … for more information on the local drug scene, street life, …”

Your eyes bulge, but hopefully not enough to be that one person every African American does not want to stereotype at these venues. The Angry Black Woman or Man. So you recline, count the hours until you can make a hasty retreat, count up how much you are spending for this abuse, open your books at night and push the demons away to let in empirical evidence that this is all not a waste of time. This article places the response to these microaggressions better than I ever could.

“The greatest microaggression, some say, is that they feel unable to express their displeasure. That’s because they don’t want to be perceived as “angry” people of color who constantly play “the race card.” A few others say they’ve learned not to get angry or paranoid: Microaggressions, they say, reflect the flaws of the people dishing them out. Better to invest their time and energy on working on things they can change.”

In business, there is the option of consulting attorneys in the worse cases. Academia does not afford students this option. Students are locked in by a financial and personal investment. These perpetrators know this and find no need to leash their ill-behaviors.

The article points to a book, a supplement to the film “Dear White People,” “Dear White People: A Guide to Inter-Racial Harmony in ‘Post-Racial’ America,” which hopefully all academic professionals and students will absorb. If they cannot find the time, there is also a chart or shortlist to guide them through their internal war with their past and present demons toward a more cultured future.

via ‘Dear White Academics …’ | Vitae.

Link to Dear White People: A Guide to Inter-Racial Harmony in ‘Post-Racial’ America  by Justin Simien, Ian O’Phelan on Amazon.com

Book_DearWhite People

‘Dear White People’ Director on Making a Comedy About Race and Spike Lee’s Heroism | #OYRchallenge

The Hollywood Reporter‘s Justin Lowe interviews 31-year-old writer-director Justin Simien on his journey to produce “Dear White People” due to hit nationwide theaters on October 24, 2014. Already, the film’s various samplings circulating social media is causing the necessary buzz to go blockbuster. But is this all buzz and no bear? We’ll see next week.

Excerpt:

When you’re writing and directing a satire like Dear White People, how do you blend narrative content and social commentary so that they effectively inform one another?

For me, the thing that I always try to do is to decide very early on what it is the movie’s about at its core. If a scene that says a bunch of things I want it to say can’t hang on the core of the film, then it doesn’t belong there. For me, I felt like the film was really just about the conflict between a person’s identity and their true selves. Everything that happened in a scene has to hang on that conflict and specifically has to hang on that conflict in relation to the arc of the four main characters.

via ‘Dear White People’ Director on Making a Comedy About Race and Spike Lee’s Heroism.

MFA vs. POC : The New Yorker

Toni Morrison

Twenty years since the workshop and what I’m left with now is not bitterness or anger but an abiding sense of loss. Lost time, lost opportunities, lost people. When I think on it now what’s most clear to me is how easily ours could have been a dope workshop. What might have been if we’d had one sympathetic faculty in our fiction program. If we Calibans hadn’t all retreated into our separate bolt holes. If we’d actually been there for each other. What might have been if the other writers of color in the workshop—the ones who were like I don’t want to write about race—had at least been open to discussing why that might be the case. I wonder what work might have been produced had we writers of colors been able to talk across our connections and divides, if we’d all felt safe and accounted for in the workshop, if we’d all been each other’s witnesses. What might have been.

via MFA vs. POC : The New Yorker.

Gallup, Purdue to Examine Post-college Success – Higher Education

With decades of experience in public opinion polling and research, global management consulting giant Gallup Inc. has announced that it is launching a higher education survey project with Purdue University that is aimed at providing insight into how the college experience enables graduates to pursue life and career success.

This year, the project, known as the Gallup-Purdue Index, begins what will be the largest ever nationally representative study of college graduates, measuring the long-term pursuit of “great jobs” and “great lives” by graduates. The index is expected to deliver new insights to higher education leaders into how the educational experiences of their students can be improved. Funding support for the index has been made possible in part by a $2 million grant from the Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation.

via Gallup, Purdue to Examine Post-college Success – Higher Education.