I am excited about chapel today. My friend and our school minister is sharing a thought — as well as our Black Student Union leaders, who have organized a talk on why Black Lives Matter. Listening to them rehearse was inspiring. Our black student leaders wrote:” [a]s Ralph Ellison noted in his Invisible Man, we have seen our invisibility — which is why we are seeking to be seen and heard.” We are a diverse community seeking to enhance the voice of those who are often marginalized.
Above: My show of solidarity
We all know Pastor Martin Niemöller‘s quote here…
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
I fond this rendition to to be noteworthy too:
First, they came for the Blacks. I did nothing, because #AllLivesMatter.
Then they came for the Muslims. I did nothing, because I ‘don’t want the terrorists to win’.
They came for the ‘illiegal’ immigrants. I did nothing, because are they not ‘criminals’?
They came for the Native Americans. I did nothing, because they’re ‘mascots’…not people.
Then they came for me. I was alone. There was no one left to stand up for me….There you stand in your hypocrisy, after making a mockery my friends and me.
I recently shared my post-Trump feelings with many who follow me on social media.
Here is a window of my Wednesday: You are walking across campus and a colleague walks up to speak, only to break down in tears. Or, a colleague walks down the hall to visit –only to break down. When you have to dismiss yourself from class because you want to cry. Your wife admits that she lost it in the shower. Students of color line up to see you — but cannot talk because they are in tears. That was my day yesterday. They (we) are hurt because America has spoken and told us what many value. But, the biggest looser in all of this might just be evangelical Christians. As I told my Mom last night, they have reaffirmed to many such as myself why we do not share their values.
I have partnered up with fellow historian and social activist Richard Pendleton, in presenting this film and conducting a post-film discussion regarding it, the black power movement, race in the 21st century, as well as Black Lives Matter.
I want to be clear that I am making a generalization here about white privilege. White men — who are the most powerful actors in this country, claiming they are the victim. Folks (women and people of color) like me are perceived to be a threat to their hegemony. And we are. A recent study found that white men hire white men from similar backgrounds. Hence — societal inequalities are grand. What a great example of how white men perpetuate white supremacy. Hey — just look at the private school world or major industries.
People of color, be they African American, Native American, Asian, Middle Eastern or whatever ethnic group, have spent years discovering their roots, developing a keen pride in their heritage, and accepting who they are. So don’t expect the current crop of prospective faculty to fit into your conservative profile. Many of them will not, and, frankly, I don’t think they should even try! Is that shocking? Is that unacceptable to you and your clientele? Then, perhaps, diversity is really not for you. If a turban or a dashiki pants suit offends, then so will diversity! Diversity by definition implies that the status quo will be upset.
The book Colors of Excellence is the leading authority on this topic. I have read it a number times. It is one that is always discussed at the annual People of Color Conference held by the National Association of Independent Schools. Moreover, it serves as a great comfort to many teachers of color with its countless anecdotes from other faculty members of color regarding their own experiences in independent schools. Regardless of what some might say, only those of a particular minority group can fully understand the social construction in existence that might or might not promote a level of comfort. I am looking forward to working with other teachers of color and addressing the continual challenges of diversity in the 21st century.
As we know, there are schools that say they value diversity — and there are schools that do. All too often many practice in talk but fail to act.