Why Professor Diversity is not what it claims to be

Many would consider Valdosta State to be a moderately diverse campus with a fair amount of ethnic groups and exchange students on the campus. However, I feel as though our professors don't reflect said diversity. While over half of the student body are people of color, seventy-five percent of Valdosta State faculty is white, according to collegefactual. Personally, I was very happy to find that I had two black lady professors: one out of the three new mass media professors hired and the head of the African-American Studies department.

(also the Steven Universe movie is coming out Sept. 2 woot! woot!) 

Something I always forget when encountering other black people is that everyone is not as radical as I am; and although we all received the same brainwashing on behalf of the United States educational system, some of us were more susceptible to the propaganda than others. Unfortunately, some people still have very popular and Eurocentric points of view. However, it is still best to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. While these insecurities are not shameful, some people quickly prove they have insecurities surrounding their blackness. These are feelings to acknowledge and actively work around because these insecurities can survive in black adults and manifest in different areas of their lives. 

In high school, I, along with a very talented public school teacher with a B.A. in African American studies, created an ethnic studies class. It was an amazing class full of intellectual discussions and engaging content. Our teacher was very free and reveled in the culture and was unapologetic about it. I feel this is what you need to properly teach African-American studies: passion. Passion fuels the students and your love of the culture makes the students, black people who have never felt entirely accepted, comfortable. This allows the students to freely express themselves without fear of judgment; and we need these kinds of accepting spaces because if black people are forced to assimilate in their own spaces, how can they ever hope to gain equal ground in the white man's space?  A burning passion for the culture and loving every painful and gritty part of black history ensures the depiction of the African Diaspora is translated in it's entirety. Because America was founded with hatred of blackness engrained in it's constitution, the story of the black person is never told in it's entirety, unless the teacher provides outside information.

When in class with a certain professor, they said some trigger words that made me feel as though they did not accept all facets of blackness; and this made me think about being 'too black'. The trigger words im referring to are unkempt hair. They just passed laws in New York and California prohibiting the discrimination of job applicants on the basis of their natural hair, yet my professor in Georgia is telling me they would not employ what they deem as unkempt hair. This leads me to question what is unkempt hair? Nappy hair? Hair that appears to be just one mass? In response to that I say, some people's natural hair will never match your definition of 'good hair' because of their curl pattern, and why shouldn't I rock what grows out my head?

 

-Food For Thought-

HXCO