Does Color Matter?

In a idyllically post-racial world, color should not matter. Having read a post on How to Succeed in a Tenure-Track Faculty Job, I would say that none of the recommendations are race-specific.

So why does the fact that it was presented at Howard University to “a group of third-year doctoral students of color” matter? This is part of the introduction to the post.

Then, at the end, it says: “In addition to these steps, which are directed toward new faculty members, current faculty members need to be supportive of new faculty of color. … It is the right thing to do.”

Yes, it is. But isn’t it the right thing to do to be supportive of new faculty PERIOD?

Isn’t stating that we need to be supportive of new faculty OF COLOR stating that the color is the reason we need to be supportive? And if we need to be supportive because of color, doesn’t that mean that we are being racist? We are supporting folks because of color. That’s not race-neutral. If it’s not race-neutral, isn’t that racist?

I understand that there is a historic lack of facilities and support for people of color, even in (or perhaps especially in) higher education. I understand that there is a need for supporting people of color in higher education. But doesn’t saying that the reason they need to be supported is because they are of color marginalize them again, just when they’ve made the step of becoming our new colleague? Wouldn’t becoming our new colleague make them equal to us? But identifying them as of color makes them “other.”

Just a thought.

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