Deconstructing Racism, White Ignorance, and Assimilation: Envisioning the Architecture of Equity in Higher Education [Part 1]

Location

Thompson 197

Rating ( vote)

MICHAEL BENITEZ JR.

CARL E. JAMES, Professor in the Faculty of Education and Graduate Program in Sociology, York University

ANNETTE HENRY

CHRISTOPHER WEST, Professor of Art History, Pasadena City College

EMMA CODDINGTON, Faculty in Biology, Willamette University

"Deconstructing Racism, White Ignorance, and Assimilation: Envisioning the Architecture of Equity in Higher Education [Part 1]"

The members of this panel will explore not only how racism, white ignorance and assimilation are perpetuated in policy, pedagogy and practice at all levels of the academy, from community colleges and private liberal arts institutions, to research universities, but also how the structures supporting these impediments to equity could be dismantled and replaced, to the benefit of all. This discussion is critical given the aggressive white ignorance that currently shapes the academy's approach to any anti-racist critique.
Assimilationist thinking is common in the academy, from hiring (“They are not out there." and “We can't lower our standards.") to mentoring, tenure and promotion (“They just can't seem to fit in.") to pedagogy and curriculum in the classroom (“Students should not be spending their time on ethnic studies, as these only cause confusion and guilt."). In each case, initiatives that could result in bringing in more culturally responsive, aware and competent faculty of color, capable of helping move the discipline, department and institution forward and increasing excellence in scholarship and research, are met with “holding actions" that prevent existing structures and practices from being examined, much less redesigned, to be more effective as well as anti-racist.
This panel discussion will include concrete examples of these structures that inhibit or prevent equity and excellence, as well as suggestions for how these could be replaced with policies and practices that open doors to actual equity.