Racism in Research and Academia
Racism is not an interpersonal phenomenon. It is not simply about something one person said to another; it is more than a slur about skin colour. Racism operates through institutions and policies, that are reinforced in everyday words and actions. Racism is not comprehending that things you say and do – as well as the things you fail to say and do – contribute to the alienation of people of colour. Well-meaning White people contribute towards racism – through their silence.
Whether intentional or not, racism has material consequences on the life chances of racial minorities.
In my latest blog post, I discuss some examples of racism at work in research contexts. I examine what it means to be an “ally.” Below, I focus on ways to proactively respond to racial discrimination in the workplace and online.
How to help
Here are some ways to actively address racism day-to-day. To start with, be honest with yourself: could you be contributing to racism, unconsciously or not? Try answering some of the following questions and suggestions to come to terms with your bias and to make a positive contribution to change.
How many people of colour have you actively supervised and mentored? Do you know what minority students go through daily? Racism impedes education in many ways.
Allyship is sacrificing White privilege, like giving up speaking spots, grants and other career opportunities so that people of colour can shine. Allyship is not a crown White people can give themselves. It requires centring people of colour, making concerted efforts for positive change, and not passively upholding the status quo. What career sacrifices have you made to end racism, which are meaningful to people of colour?
Get trained… and keep on training
Do you know your biases and their impact on racism in your organisation? When was the last time you had training on racism and intersectionality that involved a plan of follow-up concrete actions to lead change?
Review your policies using a critical race framework. Statements against bullying are not enough. To affect structural changes that will eliminate discrimination, your organisation needs quotas, clear goals and deadlines, and public accountability.
Start a journal club at your institution. Read academic and policy papers by people of colour. Discuss their research excellence and use their science in your everyday work.
Add more people of colour authors and journalists to your regular general reading and news feeds!
The next time you go to a meeting, check the representation in the room: it’s not okay to leave out Indigenous and other people of colour from meetings and committees.
Organising a conference? Just as it’s not ok to leave out “women” think about racial balance. White women can’t speak for “minorities” (don’t forget women of colour are women too and White women can’t speak to our experiences).
Walk around your offices and campus. Do you see only White faces on walls, on your marketing materials and on your other media? Speak to your Vice Chancellor or Director on the importance of intersectionality in representation.
Learn more on my blog: https://othersociologist.com/2018/01/13/racism-in-research-and-academia/
Before commenting on this post, please read my article, and the scientific sources referenced.
I moderate comments to maintain a safe space first and foremost for women of colour of various backgrounds, and also to support the voices of other minority groups who are marginalised. I welcome comments but please note that I do not allow abuse. People commenting should discuss sociology; be polite; stay on topic; and be aware of their own bias. My commenting policy is in my About section of G+ and also here: https://othersociologist.com/about/commenting-policy/
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#sociology #socialscience #equity #diversity #inclusion #antiracism #intersectionality #research #academia