I’ve been spending an increasing amount of my time struggling with a major problem many minorities wrestle with as we strive to succeed at university and beyond. I speak of the Minority Academia Ghetto*.
What is the Minority Academia Ghetto, you ask? Why, it is the state of mind that awards, programmes, initiatives, etc are pointless unless a white dude can win it, serve on it, or vote in it. I realize many senior monks’ responses are ‘get yours and tell everyone who thinks otherwise to fuck themselves’, but the reality of the situation is that Everyone Who Thinks Otherwise comprises a substantial amount of my academic peerage.
For example, I hated being funded by ‘minorities in science’ programs because I would see people’s faces clearly change from excitement, when I mentioned I did work at Yes We Rock and You Can Suck it Uber Institute, to mild disdain when I explained where the money came from, or the name of the program.
I remember when I went to give a talk at Uber Symposium, and finding out that because I was a minority I was part of the only initiative forced to present together, rather than under the proper scientific categories of our work. Fewer people stayed for our section than the others.
I sat awkwardly while Department Y buddies shart all over Department X for ‘so blatantly’ going after women and minorities because ‘it saved money’.
The fact I’m a NSF awardee is mentioned at least once a week. My prior fellowship, for childens of the underrepresented lands, was never mentioned, or lauded, even though the payout difference is negligible.
I’m not even going to count the number of times I’ve been at a meeting or conference and see a wave dudes fleeing a room, only to walk in and find out it’s the ‘promoting diversity in academia’ lecture.
I am constantly filled with irrational anger when I see a plenary talk schedules and the only brown face I see is in the ‘Diversity iz Awesome’ section and the only Vagina wins the ‘Ladies are Totes Scientists too’ award. I’m filled with frustration, because since they exist, people feel comfortable only including minorities when the fine print tells them to, but if they didn’t exist, we wouldn’t be included at all.
I am at an impasse (and like lots o’ comments), so please, share your knowledge on how to deal with such things. And if your response is ‘dude, kill all that affirmative action shitte', I totes agree. I just don’t know if we can get all those dudes in the ‘good ole boys’ network to forfeit their totes unfair privileges.
Figure 1: Aka Concise History of Just About Every Power Dynamic Ever
*Insert your favorite slur for a neighborhood daring to have lots of non ‘real Americans’ here