Academic Racism: The Repression of Marginalized Voices in Academia

by VanessaVaile

The Activist History Review

by Dr. Miguel A. De La Torre

Several years ago, during a tenure-track search, I asked two questions – two questions which I ask of every scholar applying for a position with our institution. The first is innocent enough: “How important is racial/ethnic diversity in your scholarship and teaching?” Not surprisingly, all enthusiastically answer in the affirmative. Then I ask my second question: “Which scholars and/or books from racial and ethnic minorities do you include on your syllabus and why?” Here is when the squirming begins, revealing the candidate’s lack of academic rigor.

During one particular search, two of the candidates from different Ivy League schools provided problematic responses. The first replied that regardless of a strong commitment to diversity, they were unable to think of any scholar of color at the moment. The second, grasping for straws, offered the name Paul Ricœur, and then proceeded to convince me why…

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