Posted on July 22, 2021 at: 11:30 am
Anti-assimilationist Mentoring Plan
Sub-committee chair: Deconstructing Syllabi
The education system in the United States puts Black, Indigenous, and people of color into what Love names “perpetual survival mode” (2019: 39). The academy and sites of higher education are institutions imbued with power and privilege. The character of success at the university is presented as benign meritocracy, yet in practice, women, and members of the BIPOC community are often excluded. There is a long history of exclusion and lack of support for these groups and those who do have a measure of success in the academy are often forced to adapt or assimilate to a structure that was not built for them. Moreover, for graduate students at predominantly white institutions may be difficult to find a mentor that they see themselves represented in, as the exclusion and underrepresentation of BIPOC faculty remains pervasive. This situation creates a twofold problem: first, graduate students may not establish a strong mentoring relationship that allows them to feel integrated into their program (see: McCallum 2020); and, second, students may end up merely surviving their program, rather than thriving. There are greater structural issues that must be addressed at all levels of the university, and multiple approaches will be necessary. One approach that can be put into practice immediately is considering how we mentor graduate students who are from groups, which have been continuously excluded and are underrepresented in our disciplines. Here, I offer a series of suggestions, including how to better understand student experiences and what steps to take in mentoring practices, which may allow for breaking out of the assimilationist model imposed by the university and considering additional options for mentoring students to be their full selves.
Posted on at: 11:22 am
Black Racial Literacy Project Update, June 2021
Description of Project:
The racial discrimination Black faculty face in majority white places of work fall into two categories: institutional and personal. Institutional racism is a system of inherent institutional structures, processes, and policies that lead to the disparities between Black faculty and their colleagues. Personal racism stems from direct experiences with racism and discrimination at the individual level (Griffin et al., 2011; Porcher, 2020). Researchers (Cole et al., 2017; Porcher, 2020) argue that to mitigate the institutional and personal racism that Black faculty experience, it is important for us to have interpersonal connections and space within white dominated spaces as well as direct conversations about race and racism (Edwards, 2016; Sealey-Ruiz, 2021). With focus on anti-racism initiatives, Black faculty are expected to process the traumas of racism they experience among their white colleagues, who may have inflicted harm upon them. Or in many instances, Black faculty are expected to support in leading these initiatives without specific emotional, physical, and psychological support for themselves. Additional support is needed for Black faculty due to issues of racism, tokenism, and hostile campus environments (Porcher, 2020).
Posted on at: 10:21 am
This year’s Callahan fellows research was sponsored by the History Department, in partnership with the UD Anti-Racism Initiative, and was funded by the Ray Callahan Experiential Learning Fund. Fellows were charged with investigating the history and legacy of racial inequality at the University of Delaware and its predecessor institutions. They presented draft versions of their work at the inaugural workshop of the Legacies of Enslavement and Dispossession at UD subcommittee on June 21, 2021. The blog posts are a further public presentation of this work – and part of an ongoing series of examinations of UD’s history.
Collin Willard, “Beyond Its Limits: A Case Study in University Expansion and Gentrification in Newark, DE,” University of Delaware Anti-Racism Initiative (blog), July 13, 2021.
Edward Redmond, “The Presbyterian & The Politician: Uncovering and Comparing the History of Reverend Eliphalet Wheeler and Andrew Gray,” University of Delaware Anti-Racism Initiative (blog), July 13, 2021.
Posted on July 14, 2021 at: 10:08 am
What have I Done so Far?
Throughout this internship, I have worked with the Archives at the University and collected real estate records from the University. I have also done extensive research on roughly 40 other universities and colleges with Anti-Racism Initiatives, Institutes, or Projects. Since the University of Delaware recently joined the UVA Studying Slavery Constortium, I pulled several colleges from this list to see what we could implement, or to find what UDARI could do better in terms of our website and community engagement. In addition to this, I have also been researching grants that we can apply for to support UDARI through its beginning stages.
Posted on July 13, 2021 at: 3:05 pm
By Edward Redmond, Ray Callahan Experiential Learning Fund Fellow, Spring 2021
Was someone an enslaver? This is a deceptively simple question that took me a little less than half a year to answer regarding Reverend Eliphalet Wheeler Gilbert and Andrew Gray, two key figures in the University of Delaware’s early history. The research process was difficult and long but led to the uncovering of interesting information and opened avenues for further research. But, this all leads us to a simpler question: who were these men?