Paul L. Caron

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Being A Black Academic In America: No One Escapes Without Scars

CHEChronicle of Higher Education, Being a Black Academic in America: No One Escapes Without Scars:

The “Operation Varsity Blues” bribery scandal led to an outpouring of conversation on privilege, merit, and fairness in higher education. African-American scholars were quick to point out the hypocrisy the scandal revealed. As Anthony Abraham Jack, an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, put it, “I have been told by people at times, ‘You stole a spot because you’re here.’ Now, who stole what from who?”

In the wake of the scandal, The Chronicle Review asked graduate students, junior professors, and senior scholars what it’s like to be an African-American academic today. We asked respondents to speak to themes raised by the admissions-bribery scandal. Here’s what they told us.

  • Emily Bernard (Vermont), Fortresses of Human Feeling
  • Keisha Blain (Pittsburgh), I Felt So Out of Place
  • Stefan Bradley (Loyola Marymount), No One Escapes Without Scars
  • Marcia Chatelain (Georgetown), We Were the Undeserving Throngs
  • Matthew Clair (Pennsylvania), Diversity Is No Panacea
  • Gerald Early (Washington University), How Does It Feel to Be an Identity?
  • Nadirah Foley (Harvard), There Is No Belonging Here
  • Michael Javen Fortner (CUNY), Lifting as We Climb
  • Ebony McGee (Vanderbilt) & Danny Martin (Illinois), Professionalism in the Face of Skepticism
  • Noliwe Rooks (Cornell), The Ways of White Folks

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It's a shame that Affirmative Action puts an asterisk next to every minority who achieves a worthy position. And everyone knows why that asterisk is there, but most people will never know if that position was achieved by merit or something else. Unfortunately, our society is not particularly meritocratic, so there should be an asterisk next to a lot of names, and not merely based on minority status.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Apr 26, 2019 3:47:01 AM

The endless complaining by women, minorities, and any other group does more to hold them back than all the racism and sexism combined.

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Apr 27, 2019 3:32:31 AM

"No One Escapes Without Scars." Hyperbolic perhaps. 1st Air Cavalry, 2nd Battalion, Charlie Company enroute to Landing Zone Albany was attacked by NVA elements on November 17/18 1965. 45 dead, 50 wounded out of 112 men. White privilege (mostly) got your name carved on a wall in DC. The survivors didn't write articles about their "scars" 'cause it didn't fit with their toxic masculinity. Nor were they "thanked for their service" when they came home. And they didn't think they were as tough as their parents who lived through the Depression and WWII.

One can only marvel at the inner strength of those who managed to handle being academics.

Posted by: aircav65 | Apr 27, 2019 12:27:40 PM

"The endless complaining by women, minorities, and any other group does more to hold them back than all the racism and sexism combined."

A classic case, totally classic, of blaming the victims.

Posted by: Gerald Scorse | Apr 28, 2019 7:14:56 AM

"A classic case, totally classic, of blaming the victims."
No. He's not blaming them for what made them victims. He's pointing out that how they behave afterwards is going to impact how they are treated.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Apr 29, 2019 3:54:16 AM