I am at an HBCU so this is less the case for my department (although still relevant, especially as we are launching a Black Queer Studies program). I am seeing departments and universities come out with announcements about committing (or sometimes the questionably phrased "recommitting") to anti-black racism. I am really skeptical that this will result in real change. I suspect that it will either continue the status quo or worse place even more of a burden on BIPOC faculty, staff and students. How do we push back when institutions are only paying lip service to change? This was inspired in large part by a colleagues at McMaster posted their letter that "[a] s Indigenous faculty and faculty of colour, we are writing to announce that we will not be attending the ECS faculty meeting scheduled for June 25th, on developing anti-racist/anti-oppressive/decolonial teaching practices and curricula in and for the department." As they eloquently put it: The department’s recent statement on anti-Black violence suggests that “we need to rededicate ourselves” to practicing anti-racism in our teaching and our scholarship. We agree. But we also wonder about the nature of that “we.” In teaching, we are repeatedly reminded that anti-racist & decolonial work doesn’t look the same for everyone, and this shapes every pedagogical choice we make, from the syllabus, to assignments, to the way we frame texts and issues in the classroom. Who is centered in and by our teaching? Who is centered in or by the “we” of the statement? Who is the “we” that needs rededicating, and who is the “we” that will do the work of rededication? Here's the tweet announcing it: Image: Screenshot of tweet by @zugenia: My department is meeting tomorrow to discuss how to incorporate antiracism and anticolonialism into our Program Learning Outcomes. @stumpybrown , @NadineAttewell , Chandrima Chakraborty, and I have decided not to attend. Here is our letter to our colleagues: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1eEJAasMVWFMoJ77LsApoigTGA0oHTHAAz0nqmzZ5Rqo/edit?usp=sharing Her reply: Why “IPOC” faculty? Because, shamefully, there are no full-time Black faculty members in our department. When confronted with a bad faith or otherwise problematic "solution" when do we decide not to participate in those conversations? Other Examples after the divider. Another Example: Avoid Calling Out (as discussed in the Day06 training video) Schools Trying to Recruit BIPOC Students to What I View as an Unsafe Enivornment A medievalist at University of Chicago tweeted how his school is now providing more funds for BIPOC students and Black studies. Okay .... But will they still have a tenured-medievalist professor openly advertising her affiliations with far right white nationalist groups? Because that is up on her faculty webpage. This faculty member's calls to action to far right groups means that a BIPOC faculty member had to negotiate security costs when getting a new academic job. Years after the first incident, she still regularly receives death and rape threats. And I still hear scholars openly "both sides" this and defend the aggressor. I vented about this to someone in another discipline without naming said faculty member's name or department, and they thought I was talking about a UofC person in their field with openly far white affiliations. Image: Screenshot of tweet mentioned: . @uchicagoenglish "As part of our commitment to funding and fostering scholarship in Black studies, in the coming academic year (2020-2021) we are prioritizing consideration of applicants who work in and with Black studies for admission to our PhD program” https://english.uchicago.edu/news-events Example: Just make first year's take a Critical Race Course I've seen a lot of calls to address anti-black racism that focuses on undergraduates or on recruiting graduate students. I've seen little discussion of who is going to teach, mentor, etc those students and how/if these institutions will support them. It reminds me when a friend was the first BIPOC person tenured in her department, which had a diversity requirement for committee memberships, which meant she received many aggressive demands from other faculty member that she service on "their" (i.e. all) committees. BIPOC and other marginalized faculty members already perform a lot of invisible and undervalued service, which rarely is "counted" when it comes to promotion and tenure. In the long and short term, how do we support BIPOC faculty in departments, conferences, etc so that voices are heard, credit is given, and there is real change (not just superficial change covering up exploitative labor practices)?
Hi All, I don't know about you, but this week has been SUPER impactful for me. One of the things that is emphasized is the amount of service work faculty and students of color, especially Black faculty and students, complete but is not always recognized. Given that Pearis is a graduate student and Dr. Mosley is untenured, one way we can support THEM is to leave notes of "thank you" for developing this training that they can use in 1) job applications, and 2) tenure & promotion folders. I really want their work recognized far and wide and that their service in developing this program is exponential. They could have spent the same amount of time, which is a LOT of time, on multiple manuscripts for peer-review (what is often considered the only thing necessary for tenure, jobs, internships, etc.), but instead spent it organizing material to educate US and provide a space for healing for our Black colleagues. So, what was most impactful for you? How has this training changed YOU and what will you take from the training? How will you implement what you learned throughout your life? How will you be a better ally?
To Pearis: THANK YOU. Thank you for taking the time away from your own progress in your program to help curate the training sessions. The amount of time and effort you have spent putting these 2 concurrent weeks together (in only a 3 week time span!) is absolutely incredible. I am truly grateful for the mental, emotional, and physical work you put into developing these trainings especially when you are working through your own trauma. My views as a white woman are challenged and I am much more aware not only of the space I take up in academia, but how I can better understand and advocate for my Black students and colleagues. I have already shared numerous resources you provided to fellow academics and non-academics alike (crediting that I received them from this initiative). To any potential employer (internship or post-Ph.D.), you are getting a star. Pearis is already changing the world and you are truly lucky to have her on board. Help her continue to fight for justice and liberation. To Dr. Mosley: THANK YOU. As a fellow untenured faculty member, I can only imagine the work that you put in as service to OTHERS in developing this program rather than your own research which often weighs more strongly for tenure. I want everyone on your tenure committee to know just how impactful this past week has been (and I still have one more day of training left!) and that your impact on the entire global community of academics and beyond is further than any other initiative I have seen, regardless of the topic. I have already shared numerous resources you provided to fellow academics and non-academics alike (crediting that I received them from this initiative). Dr. Mosley, you are truly an inspiration and I am eternally grateful for the mental, emotional, and physical work you put into developing these trainings especially when you are working through your own trauma. I am encouraged for change in our world and thank you for providing me with the tools on how to make this change.