This post was not on our regularly scheduled program of topics. However, over the past couple of weeks, I’ve felt a pull deep down in my spirit to acknowledge my village (and when the Spirit moves, well…). It could be because I’m hitting that mid-semester wall and could really use the comfort of my bestie, a 1705 couch, and a glass of moscato (or chocolate wine). It might be that I spent time with my mom this weekend and she really helped put some things in perspective for me. Or it could be the fact that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about all of the things that are dangers to Black folks in America and how quickly I could lose any one of the people closest to me because of that. Whatever the case may be, I’ve felt compelled. So here it goes.
A few months ago I read an article on Inside Higher Ed regarding students at Ptizer College who were looking for a roommate and requested that only other students of color inquire. Some of the students’ peers had an issue with this requirement and the whole scenario made me think about how people of color (POC), specifically underrepresented minorities, navigate predominately white institutions (PWI).
Most days I walk around academic spaces feeling like I'm wearing a mask. I’m not referring to my head wraps, my fro, or t-shirts I wear that display my pride in being Black (although I’ve been asked if those are costumes). I’m not even referring to the professional wear I don myself in when formally presenting (even though this feels much more like a costume than anything else I wear). Nope. I’m talking about the way in which I code switch each and every time I walk into an academic setting.
A few months back I attended a Women in Institutional Research Conference. When I showed up to registration and saw a handful of other black and brown women, I IMMEDIATELY thought of this meme.
HAHAHAHA. It’s funny, but it’s not. I’m actually serious. We embraced and everything! I literally hugged women that I had only met seconds before like wow we really do exist. Anytime I’ve gone to professional conferences related to Institutional research I would be lucky if I saw a handful of other women of color. It’s rare. And every time it saddens me. I’m not sure that feeling will ever change.
Blackademia the blog
Two Black women navigating the world of academia. Read about how Tiffany & Autumn discuss (and bring levity to) issues of education (both secondary and higher) in America. .