Your theological school might be racist if . . .
. . . you hear white colleagues tell their white PhD students that they shouldn’t bother trying to apply for a tenure-track position because of the discrimination that exists against white men in the academy.
. . . the class syllabus has no books written by scholars of color, and if it does, the book was published in the last century.
. . . the sole faculty of color serves on every committee having to do with diversity.
. . . as a student of color, you are constantly asked what does your community think about the issue being discussed.
. . . white feminists use the term “womanist and mujerista” to show they are on fleek, even though it reveals their ignorance concerning the complexity of the Latina discourse, hence making this phrase problematic if the attempt was to signify inclusiveness.
. . . you are told as a student of color how eager the faculty is to have you in class so that they can learn from you (even though they are the ones being paid and not you).
. . . you are told by a white adjunct professor that you are were hired with tenure-track because you are of color.
. . . scholars of color who are scholar-activists are dismissed because they are perceived to do social work and not real scholarship.
. . . phrases like “maintaining academic excellence” or “not lowering the academic rigor of the school” are used when discussing hiring a scholar of color.
. . . when considering hiring an Asian woman, the Latino male colleague is told they already got him and he is more than capable of handling all that marginalized stuff, thus a need for another one really doesn’t exist.
. . . your fellow students in preaching class say how lucky you are as a black preacher cause you don’t have to do much work in preparing for a sermon because you can just wait for the Spirit to lead you.
. . . you are asked if it was hard coming from the hood, even though you grew up in an upper-class neighborhood.
. . . when discussing an incident that offended you, your white liberal colleague assures you that when it comes to racism, s/he “gets it.”
. . . your fellow student or colleague tells you s/he “gets it,” because they dated a person of color back in college.
. . . for mission’s day you are asked to dress up in your native costume, which creates confusion because you grew up in New York City.
. . . white students ask you as the professor what credentials do you hold that equips you to teach them.
. . . colleagues question why you are teaching Hegel instead of something more familiar to you from your own culture; and yet no one ever thinks of questioning the credentials of the white scholar who teaches Buddhism or Hinduism.
. . . during a faculty interview, one colleague remarks to the light-skinned Latina interviewee how she doesn’t look Hispanic, and how well she hides it; or when this same scholar is denied employment elsewhere because she does not look Latina enough.
. . . during a faculty interview, interviewees of color are placed in cheaper hotels and taken to less expensive restaurants than white interviewees.
. . . during a faculty interview, not all members of the search committee show up for your presentation and even fewer faculty attend; nevertheless you consistently make the short list at top schools, even though the white applicant, who has published fewer books, receives the appointment because the “fit” is better – all the while, the search committee constantly moan about the need to diversify.
. . . the need to diversify no longer means racial and ethnic diversification.
. . . with the exception of a token person of color, every professor has the same white hue.
. . . professors of color over-represent the adjunct and lecturer posts.
. . . as a student you mention the scholarship of a leading scholar of color working within the disciple of your professor; but the professor confesses never having heard of her/him.
. . . white female faculty confuses confident men of color with being too macho; feeling a messianic need to save their sisters of color from what they imagine is a worse sexism than that which exists among whites.
. . . when setting academic standards, white colleagues offer to lower the criteria for students of color to make it easier for them to get through the program.
. . . your contribution to the discourse is described as an interesting perspective as oppose to the contribution of white colleagues that are accepted as universal concepts.
. . . when after a presentation you are praised for being so articulate.
. . . when after a presentation you are met with awkward silence.
. . . when after a presentation you realize that few if any white scholars attended.
. . . PhD students of color are constantly reassured that because they are a minority, they will have no difficulties landing an academic post.
. . . you out-published all your colleagues, yet the academic rigor of your books is questioned by the dean; but when you ask which books was found lacking, you are told by the dean that s/he hasn’t read any of them.
. . . you out-published all your colleagues, and rather then recognizing that you out produce them, rumors are spread that the only explanation for you productivity is that you plagiarizing the work of your students – even though no evidence presented.
. . . you out-published all your colleagues, and rather then disagreeing with your perspective, white colleagues question if you really understand the issue.
. . . white students and faculty hold the privilege to touch your body, especially your hair if you are black.
. . . Indian faculty hear from students and colleagues that they too have Indian blood; and even those who do not make such a claim still insist that they been accepted by a Native community as one of their own.
. . . your white colleagues and students get to perform sacred Indian rituals as part of their “new age” spirituality without having to be Indian.
. . . you walk by a classroom where a course germaine to a community of color is being taught and you notice that the vast majority of the students in the room are of color.
. . . during the faculty evaluation of a professor of color, the one or two negative student evaluations raises red flags in considering promotion or wage increases; even though the one or two negative evaluation of white scholars are dismissed as an aberration.
. . . fellow white students express gratitude to affirmative action for your acceptance to the program; although it is a shame that there must be some more deserving white student who lost their seat to you.
. . . classes taught by scholars of color on similar themes are scheduled for the same time; while later during evaluations, the dean expresses concern that fewer students are signing up for your class.
. . . the reason given for hiring scholars of color is because many of the institution’s students comes from that particular community, and if we want to do outreach, we should at least hire one of them; besides, too much pressure is being placed on the institution to make a minority hire.
Unfortunately, all these comments were either heard by me or were retold to me by a colleague of color.
First Published in Our Lucha