I can imagine no more oppressed class of people than the melanin-enriched student affairs professionals in today’s colleges and universities.
That’s why I was so glad to find that Dr. Antione Tomlin has published a collection of essays in which the authors detail the struggles that Black people experience daily as student affairs professionals in today’s racist colleges and universities.
Grab your copy of Working While Black and order a copy for a friend or colleague now! Available on all platforms, this book shares the stories of 18 Black professionals and their experiences of working in student affairs. Order your copy now to read about all the UNTOLD stories! pic.twitter.com/eZkK4e9CkH
— Antione Tomlin, PhD (@TomlinAntione) August 3, 2022
For decades black student affairs professionals have toiled, silenced and unregarded, in our institutions of higher education. Ignored by the White Supremacist hierarchies, they are overworked, underpaid, voiceless. Practically chained to their desks, their White colleagues only acknowledge their existence in order to shout racial slurs; White students spit at their feet. It is appalling.
Working While Black: The Untold Stories of Student Affairs Practitioners will examine the narratives of student affairs professionals and how they navigate their professional experiences. While student affairs can be a high pressure and high stress environment for all professionals, Black professionals are often overworked, underheard, and made to feel devalued. Therefore, it is important to consider how student affairs professionals are managing the profession, colleagues, and students while Black.
Colleges and Universities are known to be hotbeds of racism, barely acknowledging the existence of people of color. The problem is so severe and widespread that many colleges have been forced to acknowledge that systemic racism is an ongoing problem. Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber wrote the Princeton community in 2020 that he was committed to addressing the problem.
Racism and the damage it does to people of color nevertheless persist at Princeton as in our society, sometimes by conscious intention but more often through unexamined assumptions and stereotypes, ignorance or insensitivity, and the systemic legacy of past decisions and policies. Race-based inequities in America’s health care, policing, education, and employment systems affect profoundly the lives of our staff, students, and faculty of color.
Racist assumptions from the past also remain embedded in structures of the University itself. For example, Princeton inherits from earlier generations at least nine departments and programs organized around European languages and culture, but only a single, relatively small program in African studies.
The acknowledgement was welcome, but hardly enough. The Trump Administration rightly started an investigation into Princeton’s continuing systemic racism. It was required to do so, in fact, because Princeton was admitting to violating US Civil Rights laws. Princeton also clearly committed fraud upon its students by misrepresenting its commitment to racial equality at the institution, and took federal funds under false pretenses.
Based on its admitted racism, the U.S. Department of Education (“Department”) is concerned Princeton’s nondiscrimination and equal opportunity assurances in its Program Participation Agreements from at least 2013 to the present may have been false. The Department is further concerned Princeton perhaps knew, or should have known, these assurances were false at the time they were made. Finally, the Department is further concerned Princeton’s many nondiscrimination and equal opportunity claims to students, parents, and consumers in the market for education certificates may have been false, misleading, and actionable substantial misrepresentations in violation of 20 U.S.C. § 1094(c)(3)(B) and 34 CFR 668.71(c). Therefore, the Department’s Office of Postsecondary Education, in consultation with the Department’s Office of the General Counsel, is opening this investigation.
Shockingly, the Biden Administration dropped the investigation, proving once again that systemic racism is rampant, and that the Democrat Party, contrary to its representations to the voters, is indifferent to the oppression of Blacks in academia and throughout society. Princeton admitted its own systemic racism, and Biden let them off the hook.
Typical. That is why Dr. Tomlin’s book is so timely!
The book is not inexpensive, but honestly the book is cheap at any price.
It is high time that academia clean up its act and stop ignoring its systemic oppression of Black student affairs professionals. Until our institutions of higher education go beyond the mere acknowledgment of systemic racism and tear down the barriers preventing Blacks from thriving in higher education, the struggle will continue.
I hope that the next Republican president will pick up where Trump left off and send the Department of Justice to investigate not only our institutions of higher learning, but every corporation and institution that has finally acknowledged that they are racist to the core.
We should demand that any such institution pay reparations to both Black students and employees, and that they repay the taxpayers for funds they accepted under false pretenses.
Justice must be done!