“there are no spooks behind the door!”

Growing increasingly frustrated, he leaned forward in his chair, looked me straight in the eye, and, with his ordinarily pale face turning red, he yelled, “You must trust us more if you want to succeed here; there are no spooks behind the door!”…

As a black female academic with more than twenty years of experience in academia, to tell the truth, ghosts have haunted me: the ghosts of Jim Crow; the goblins of slavery-like, white, presumed superiority; and ghouls of sexism, racism, and classism just will not leave me alone! Beneath the surface of seemingly innocent encounters with supposedly well-meaning white administrators or colleagues or students, these ghosts linger and haunt me with words and acts that torture my very soul and keep me from being able to experience academia the way a white male with similar credentials can [20-21].

Gutierrez y Muhs, Gabriella, Yolanda Flores Niemann, Carmen G. Gonzalez, and Angela P. Harris, eds. Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia. Logan, UT: Utah State UP, 2012. Print.

About G Bitch

A mad black woman in New Orleans.
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2 Responses to “there are no spooks behind the door!”

  1. Ann says:

    Wow, scary. I never trust anyone who tells me to trust them or who dares to speak as a rep for a whole group of people. What seems to get us all in the most trouble is assuming we know what anyone else is experiencing… Your blog is so interesting— makes me want to pack up and go to NO.

    • G Bitch says:

      His statement is full of assumptions—that this black female academic’s personality or presumed hate-whitey feelings interfere with her becoming more attached to/part of the department; that “race” is something that black folks, Latinos/as, Asians, etc. have to deal with, with the clear assumption/assertion that blacks, Latinos/as, etc. are different and must become more like “their peers” in order to succeed; that it is your internal “race” issues that cause problems for those around you; and, which I have also encountered, that certain departments or fields are more “liberal” than others and all that race “stuff” has been settled or has nothing to do with that department/field regardless of the lived experience of non-white and/or female academics. The most prominent assumption that I have experienced as almost a convention is that your lived experience of anything, and especially in that department/field, is not valid or valued or support for or against anything, that the slights or assumptions or passing over for x or t are not Real but “perceived” by the minority person. And that whites, and especially white males, are the arbiters of Truth, Valid Experience, The Real and The Profession, and know more about you and your experience than you possibly can because they have Knowledge and The Correct Politics. The same sentence can throw doubt upon your qualifications and tell you that you are paranoid to think that anything ever said is insulting or degrading or based on feelings and stereotypes rather than evidence/support. Look at who gets/has tenure. Then look at who doesn’t, or did twice the required publishing and service to get tenure, and who gets hired full-time or tenure-track versus who gets hired for temporary, underpaid adjunct positions.

      Ann, if you are a woman of color with an advanced degree, stay where you are. Trust me.

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