Protest in a neoliberal age

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Participants marching in Black Lives Matter Rally at Cornell University, September 23, 2016 (Credit: Julia Cole Photography)

Today we wanted to share with you a recent essay by Russell Rickford published in the African American Intellectual History Society blog, “The Fallacies of Neoliberal Protest.”

Rickford takes pains to explain the neoliberal context of current protest and social resistance on and off campuses, reminding us that neoliberalism “seeks to manage the social order and ensure the continued political dominance of the ruling class by absorbing social threats.”

He lays out three fallacies by which corporations and institutions in power seek to maintain this order and “neutralize” dissent. For us, this essay hit close to the bone in the way Rickford highlights “dialogue and awareness” as the first fallacy and then, as he sums up his case, states:

Truth is, we don’t need “diversity” training. We don’t need focus groups. We don’t need consultants and experts. We don’t need the apparatus of our oppression—racial capitalism itself—to rationalize and regulate our dissent. The logic and techniques of the corporate world won’t end the slaughter of black people, or the dispossession and degradation of indigenous people, or the transformation of the entire Global South into a charred landscape of corpses and refugees.

We’ve both participated in and led diversity training. We’ve done focus groups. We’ve felt like we’ve needed experts. We’ve been asked to do the expertifying. And it has all felt necessary and important … but this cold splash of water reminds us of the limits of what we do. Maybe more frighteningly, it shows us how the very efforts we are involved in are, by the very virtue of how institutions work, stunted and contained or worse, used to justify the very same inequities we want to change.

Rickford’s conclusion–“This is a human rights struggle. And it will be waged in the streets, not in boardrooms, the halls of Congress, or other strongholds of global capital”–is a necessary reminder for us to be clear about the limits of what we are able to do in our classrooms and institutions and the impetus we feel to be engaged in change work outside of those spaces.

The Origin Story

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A visual of our collaboration. (Citation)

As we come back to this space after taking some time away from it, we wanted to write a post explaining why we have this blog. Why a blog? Why a shared blog? And what’s up with the blog name?

WHY A BLOG? Since we’ve met, we’ve been having conversations that have blown both of our minds. We push each other to think more deeply and fully, and that has been a sustaining element in our lives in Minnesota. Not to toot our own horns (not that either of us are good at tooting horns), but we thought that some of our thinking and the way that we work through and within uncertainty might be helpful for others. So we decided to create a space where we could do this work in a public way. We felt that a blog would allow us to attempt to be thoughtful and smart, but also highlight our humor, our personalities, and our mistakes. We’ve both often felt like the rules of academic writing hampered us, and we wanted to be able to set our own rules for how we present our voices to the world.

We also wanted a space to amplify the work of scholars, thinkers, and activists of color. A friend of Adriana’s has written about the “politics of citation.” Following María Elena Cepeda’s call to cite each other [i.e. scholars of color], this blog is a place where we try to signal boost voices that might not always get heard in academia.

The truth is that we would love to do a podcast like Heben & Tracy–we think our conversations are much more fun when you can hear them–but we both suck at audio editing and have no clue how to produce a podcast. We are in need of the kind of podsquad that they have! If any readers are qualified and want to be part of our podsquad, hit us on the buzz!**

WHY A SHARED BLOG? You might imagine that when we are writing these posts together, we spend tortured hours worrying about word choices and perfect sentences. We don’t.  Instead, our conversations about how to language our ideas are probably some of the most joyful moments of our week. We made a commitment to write together most of the posts because writing together means that we are thinking together. Sharing a blog means that we collaborate, we co-create knowledge, we share experiences and emotions… in other words, we aim to do “transformative scholarship.” As Jigna Desai (one of our sheroes) writes:

What is still missing in our conversations about critical ethnic studies, feminist scholarship, and transformative humanistic projects? Let us talk about how we do our work. Why is it that we talk about decolonization of knowledge and yet perpetuate a cult of celebrity academics and/or fetishize the monograph? Why is it difficult to see collaborations across small and large structures of power as transformative? We must learn to recognize how the subject and the form contribute to decolonizing scholarship. Intentional dialogue, mentoring, and collaborations should not be understood in mathematical formulae that fracture essays into percentages, that divide attributions like pie. We must work to recognize scholars for their larger body of work as the sum greater than its parts. At the end of the day, such a calculus of acknowledgement should not replicate a celebrity or capitalist system that sees knowledge as stemming from the cult of the persona or diminished through collaboration. Instead it must work, to name not only transformative scholarship, but the new forms in which it appears.” (Facebook post, August 25, 2013)

WHY DOWN WITH BROWN? We struggled to come up with a name that was as revolutionary as we feel. We knew that we wanted to center the bodies and experiences of women of color while taking into account the limits of our own bodies and experiences. In her earlier, younger blog, Adriana uses the metaphor of coffee to gesture at experiences of Latinx brownness in the U.S. (Important interjection from Anita: BUT, BUT you love our blog, right??) Of course, the expression “down with” is used to signify alliance and solidarity, as in “down with that.”

(Important interjection from Adriana: OMG, OMG we just found out that we are not down with the phrase “down with the brown,” as defined by urban dictionary!! P.S. On a more serious note, maybe we’ll write a future blog post about what it means to love and live across racial identities.)

Now that you’ve learned about the blog’s origin story, we hope that it helps you understand a bit better where we’re coming from and why we write what and how we write.

** If you don’t know what “podsquad” or “hit us on the buzz” means, you clearly haven’t been listening to enough episodes of Another Round with Heben and Tracy. And you need to remedy that fast!

Back to life, back to reality

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Photo credit: Kat Chma (2016)

Note: We’ve decided to stick with the format of alternating our original blog posts with posts highlighting others’ work in the spirit of collaboration and community…and in the spirit of being real about our lives and schedules!

We’ve spent the summer traveling, doing research, writing, breaking toes, hanging out with family and friends, reading for work and for pleasure, and learning that the American national anthem has a racist third verse. We come back to this space, wanting to acknowledge our solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other Indigenous communities standing strong against the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline. If you haven’t been following what’s been happening there, get caught up by: reading a summary of what you need to know; getting the big picture of Indigenous rights issues; following @SacredStoneCamp if you’re on Twitter; choosing whatever way makes sense for you to support the folks leading the #NoDAPL fight.

We also want to give a shout out to some of the books by women of color authors we read and enjoyed this summer:

A House of My Own (2015), Sandra Cisneros (a lovely gift from a lovely neighbor!)

The Blue Between Sky and Water (2015), Susan Abulhawa

The Farming of Bones (2003), Edwidge Danticat

The New Jim Crow (2010), Michelle Alexander

Scenes of Subjection (1997), Saidiya Hartman

Lots to read…before our next original blog post next week!

Both Sides Now

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Image credit (and for fun see XKCD’s upside down map)

Note: Given various travel adventures that we have planned for the rest of the summer, we will be taking a brief hiatus from the blog. We will be back with our next original post at the beginning of September. In the meanwhile, we would, as always, love to hear from you about how our posts resonate with or are different from your experiences!

During a recent NPR story about how some Americans and their families are using obituaries to make clear their opinions about the 2016 presidential candidates, the NPR host at one point says, “And, you know, this is journalism, so please make an attempt to be even-handed.” This idea of “being even handed” or “making sure to present ‘both’ sides of the story” sets up an either/or proposition that we find unhelpful but still encounter in academia. It shows up in our students’ feedback about course materials and class discussions (though not as often as in our early teaching years); it shows up in colleagues’ evaluations of our teaching; and it shows up in casual discussions about how the college campus is the “most diverse” environment experienced by some students while, for others, it’s the “least” diverse environment. It also shows up on our campus and in larger society in discussions where being called a racist or sexist is viewed as being as terrible and consequential as experiencing racism or sexism. In this post, we want to think through these ideas about “both sides” or “all sides” by examining how this erstwhile desire for “balance” and “fairness” play out in our classes.

In our classes, we deliberately refuse to take a “neutral” or “even handed” approach to the study of education, race, gender, citizenship or nation-building. Adriana begins American Studies classes by introducing students to standpoint theory and the importance of recognizing the power of positionality in the creation of knowledge. For both of us, the readings we choose and the framings we use in our analyses challenge dominant narratives of American meritocracy and democracy; we include, for example, critical perspectives from theorists of color and feminist and queer theorists. While we both strive to make sure that all students are able to express their ideas, ask questions, and challenge each other in our classes, we do make it clear that we are not nor do we strive to be “neutral” facilitators or participants. This kind of stance in the classroom sometimes makes our students uncomfortable and it can also raise questions for our colleagues.

What this kind of pedagogical stance can mean is that in any single class, some of Anita’s interventions in a class discussion might be seen as unfairly targeting only particular student comments. As a result, in Anita’s third year review letter, her senior colleagues noted that an “unevenness in the openness with which some theoretical or ideological positions are discussed.” In response, she explained in her tenure prospectus that centering minority and marginalized perspectives in her classes (a goal that her colleagues noted that they supported) meant that she was a “multipartial” rather than an impartial facilitator. Such a stance means that Anita might step in to challenge some statements more than others; it means that readings in her courses challenge dominant perspectives in education, rather than support prevailing narratives about, for example, racial minority students’ intellectual deficits or immigrant students’ linguistic deficiencies.

Recognizing our situated perspective as researchers and teachers means that when Adriana designs her course curricula, she doesn’t think about “balancing” the perspectives in the way that students often expect. For example, a dense reading that critiques State criminalization of Mexicans in the U.S. does not get paired with a reading that endorses the building of a wall between the two countries. Instead, she discusses with students why and how American Studies as a discipline has a stake in producing particular kinds of critiques of dominant discourses around otherness, and she asks the students to build a historical knowledge base of those discourses.

Even as we, in our classes, make clear the epistemological stake in naming our ideological frames, what we hear in these calls for neutrality or even-handedness is a worry that people will feel excluded because a view they hold isn’t represented or validated in a classroom. We do take seriously the imperative as instructors to be inclusive and to make sure all of our students can contribute and question. We want all of our students to recognize the situatedness of their own knowledge and experience as well as be critically aware of the situated nature of any empirical and theoretical work we read.

What this means, in our eyes, is that the students’ call for “neutrality” as way to ensure “both sides” of a story are included is misdirected. The seeming exclusion of dominant, mainstream perspectives does not actually meant that these perspectives are not present in the classroom. Dominant beliefs (about Mexicans, about the U.S.-Mexico border) circulate through our shared societal discourse communities and already frame the critique that we need to bring in. Thus, for the students, “represent both sides” often points to their need to have dominant beliefs reinforced in the face of feeling that those dominant discourses, when seen from other perspectives, are deeply unsettled. For example, learning about the well-known Chicanx slogan–“We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us”–often leads students to question the “natural” boundaries of nations and citizenship.

But interrupting this notion of “both sides” also means for us the necessary recognition of more than two possible positions or perspectives on an issue. For example, when having discussions about educational reforms, students in Anita’s classes think carefully about the complex and sometimes contradictory needs, interests, and worries that various stakeholders bring to discussion of what needs to happen in schools, including students, parents, communities, teachers, politicians, and business leaders. Recognizing multiple perspectives also easily allows us and our students to acknowledge the multiple intersecting identities that situate each of us as knowers. We hope that these moments of recognition allow all of us to question our assumptions about each other and build connections and empathy in unexpected ways. Indeed, Adriana found that a class activity that invited students to talk about what stopped them from listening to each other and strategies they had for “assuming best intentions” led students to be more generous and empathetic discussants who wanted to understand not just what a classmate believed, but why and how they had come to this belief.

We always end our posts inviting folks to share, and here we’re interested in hearing from fellow faculty and from students about their experiences in the classroom around issues of “fairness” and “balance.”

Inspirations:

Patricia Hill Collins. (1990) Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment. NY: Routledge, 2000.

Kimberlé Crenshaw. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford law review, pages 1241-1299.

 

#BlackLivesMatter

(Image credit)

Our hearts are heavy this morning as we woke up to the news of yet another Black person being shot and killed by the police, this time in a location close to us in Minnesota. As we grieve, get angry, and stand in solidarity with our Black friends and loved ones, we wanted to highlight a recent speech by actor and activist Jesse Williams. The linked article provides an annotated examination of the speech to give more context to the historical, systemic, and ongoing discrimination, violence, and marginalization faced by Black folks in the U.S.

We know it’s hard to figure out what to do following senseless and systemic violence like this but we know it’s important to get educated and speak up, which is why we really appreciated Williams’ speech. One way you can start to do that is by getting involved in your local chapter of #BlackLivesMatter by attending events and donating money. Also check out the still relevant #FergusonSyllabus.

We speak of (our) glorious brownness

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“Soldaderas,” Yasmin Hernandez (2011)

(Note: Our blog posts are based on conversations that we have, conversations that we sometimes record. The format of this post is an attempt to demonstrate the dialogic nature of those conversations, and the spirit of collaboration and friendship that informs them. We would love for you to share with us the histories and experiences of your glorious brownness/blackness!)

AC: I was thinking, well, you know what I was thinking initially, that we write about whiteness all the time and we have to because that’s what we’re surrounded by. But we forget that there are these parts to ourselves that are not about Whiteness.

AE [laughing]: It cracks me up because it reminds me of this piece about what if authors wrote about white people the same way they write about brown people. Because when you read fiction, if there’s a brown person in the book, there’s always some discussion of their caramel colored skin or their chocolate tone [laughter].

AC: What do you think I am? [sticks out arm]

AE: I don’t know! I don’t think in food metaphors…You are like toasted almond.

AC: Oooh. That’s kind of yummy.

AE: I on the other hand…

AC: I feel like you’re like one of those vanilla flavors but with flecks.

AE: I feel I’m like French Silk Pie.

AC: Because we just got some ice cream and you got French Silk Pie.

[laughter]

This post is about exploring our brownness–what it means to us now, how we’ve come to understand it, and the people and contexts that have shaped our brownness. The exchange above captures some of what we associate with our brownness–joy, community, sisterhood, laughter, silliness, politics.

Skin color is a part of our brownness. Both within our families and in our Latinx and (South) Indian communities, there’s a range of skin colors and there are politics about which skin colors are desired and valued. Anita’s mom has told her the story many times about how the first thing an aunt said when she saw the newborn Anita was that her skin was so dark. There are many messages about lighter skin being better (skin lightening cream ads, for example. The one linked is an especially fascinating pseudo-feminist one where lightening her skin gives the daughter the courage and strength to tell her dad that she wants to wait to get married till she has a job and can be on equal terms with her husband!). Adriana grew up in a family that called her “güerita” and other cousins “morenita”–both endearments, but with different societal values attached.

Of course, though, our brownness is more than skin color.

AC: I did mean brownness in a larger sense, not just skin color [laughter]. We can always talk, though, about the gloriousness of caramel skin, and toasted almond complexion.

AE: We could talk about the glorious brownness of certain spaces; I’ve been thinking a lot about white space. When I was New York City recently, it meant being in spaces where, yeah, there’s a lot of whiteness, but there are other variations too. It feels so different to move through that city.

AC: It’s the relaxing part…when I think of brown spaces, I always think of community. I grew up in India so there’s that more obvious kind of brown community but even since moving to the U.S., that’s been important. For example, having the critical mass of black and brown folks at Swarthmore [Anita’s undergraduate alma mater] was really important. Not every brown person I’ve met is super supportive but all my supportive spaces are full of black and brown people.

AE: You’ve built them deliberately, especially in a place like Minnesota, to be full of black and brown people.

AC: I just feel like there’s a sense of not having to worry about what I say in those spaces that I feel like has never been true for me at Carleton or other white spaces.

AE: In white spaces, there’s a series of second-guessing that I do. I might still be brave at some point like with these blog posts. But then, for example, I wonder if I say this, (a) are you going to listen (b) are you going to think I’m crazy, or (c) are you going to menospreciar what I’m saying? Are you going to actually care about what I’m saying?

AC: We don’t have to be brave in brown spaces. It’s exhausting being brave and there we can just be. And still be challenged in different kinds of ways. It’s not that we always agree on everything. But I never feel minimized. I always feel heard.

These brown spaces aren’t always physical ones or permanent ones. These spaces can sometimes be created online, temporarily, as in a Facebook post that Adriana wrote once about her annoyance about how a NPR story about Cuba centered Hemingway, a White American author. Her Latinx and other friends of color chimed in with funny, sarcastic pointed comments about the whiteness of NPR. A White friend wrote to Adriana saying that the tone of these comments made them uncomfortable.

AE: And we all had this understanding of why and what was useful about that move. I think the one thing that was so alienating for him was exactly that. It was not a white space.

AC: And that it’s brown snark.

AE: It’s the fear that brown spaces are anti-White. Which…

AC: Sometimes it is

AE: Sometimes it has to be.

AC: Maybe it’s more anti-Whiteness, not so much anti-White people.

This led us to a discussion of our White friends who are politically liberal and demonstrate that stance through articles they post on social media, for example. However, there is still the question of whether these intellectual discussions and stances make them cognizant of the raced influences on their daily lives and interactions.

AC: With some White friends, maybe it’s that I’m not the one who’s always bringing it up.

AE: You know, that is super big. It would be such a lovely thing if more White people in our lives said, “Bring me into your brownness.” And weren’t scared. What is that white people are scared of? White people have been trained to be scared of talking about race because often just talking about race feels to them like it’s racist. And of course for us, if you’re not talking about race…

AC: That’s racist.

AE: That’s racist, because we are living raced lives.

AC: Maybe that’s one of the things about being brown. We’re not so afraid to have these uncomfortable conversations.

AE: If we were afraid, we’d be passing. Like I would be White. And I’d be a f*&*ing different person.

AC: And I feel like the same would go for me. I couldn’t pass in the same way. But there’s lots of ways in which as a person of color, you can assimilate and accommodate….but also, I don’t know if my closest White friends say, “Bring me into your brownness.” [laughter]

AE: We will bring you into our brownness!

AC: Because we are magnificent and..what’s that word for being…magnanimous!

AE: We are magnificent and magnanimous in our brownness [laughter]! One of the things I love about my brownness is having a rich sense of what it means to be anchored in a particular history (related to the U.S.) and about valuing that past of my people and the strength that it takes my community to be here in the way that it is.

AC: I feel like I don’t have that same relationship to the U.S. but for me, reading Black feminist authors like bell hooks and Audre Lorde has been a big part of my intellectual history.

AE: That raises the question for me about when is the moment that you came into your brownness; can you remember what that felt or looked like?

AC: I think unconsciously, I don’t know if I would have named it as such at the time, but moving to the U.S., moving to Fort Collins, Colorado, where my cousins, my brother and I were the only brown people in the school. Or at least that’s what I remember. It was the first time I didn’t look like everyone else around me. I could feel it on my skin in this weird way but I couldn’t talk about it and it wasn’t until college really where I first self-identified as a person of color. I don’t think I had that language before then.

AE: Likewise. I definitely knew I was Mexican and American for the longest time and went back and forth. Had both of those homes. It wasn’t until college and late in college that taking Chicano literature with María Herrera-Sobek changed my life. Senior year, I read Lorna Dee Cervantes and she talks about being Chicana as this movement in between Mexico and the U.S., where you’re not home in either. It named me so deeply. I was floored.Then there’s Cherrie Moraga, Sandra Cisneros, Denise Chavez. Not every text mirrored me exactly. That wouldn’t have even been useful. But every text contained fragments of mirrors that I could use to understand better how to map myself into brownness.

AC: For me, it was much more about my classmates. My class was about 40% students of color. I had classmates who already had the vocabulary

AE: And they saw you.

AC:  Yes.

AE: I was never really seen.

AC: I’ve never thought about that…

AE: I wrote a maudlin poem in college about how I’m so brown and blue. [laughter]

AC: We need to find it and publish it!

AE: It’s such a bad poem. Our embodiment is so different in the way we were seen and recognized as belonging by other members of our community.

AC: For me, there was definitely a sense of being a part of this students of color community in college. Not that there weren’t tensions because we were different kinds of students of color and we had to work through that. At least among the students who were politically active, we embraced that. It’s been interesting because I know that some of our students of color now don’t always like that language. I respect that, of course, but for me, it was so much a part of my own racialization and my own coming into consciousness. It makes a little sad sometimes. I’ve always had South Asian friends, for sure, but in undergrad and grad school, it’s always been a community of color. It’s never been just South Asian. So my own community feels like it’s full of people of color and multiracial. It’s been really important for me to think through my own privileges and what it means to be Indian American within that community.

I remember in grad school, there were two of us who were South Asian in my cohort. The head of the African American student group came up to us and invited us to be part of the group because at the time, there wasn’t really a student of color group. I felt very grateful that they took us in! We supported and were supported in ways that would have made my graduate school experience very different if I hadn’t had that.

AE: Yeah. Getting to grad school, it was fraught in a couple of ways. But I came into a community of Chicanas. We were all…marooned at Cornell. I felt like I didn’t know how to do it the right way and others did. It was still super important to have this community that was mainly Chicanas and South Asians as well, which is fascinating historically. There were not many Black students in the program.

AC: There is that whole history of Mexican-Punjabi families in California.

AE: It’s so true!

AC: Not that I’m Punjabi but I’ll claim it anyway. Close enough!

AE: Our connection was predestined is what we’re saying. [laughter]

AC: Our together brownness.

AE: It’s interesting that though we both came into our brownness in different ways, they’re both still mediated by texts. Moraga, hooks, and Lorde are amazingly important to me, too. I feel that the way I think about my brownness and why it was important for me to say Chicana, rather than Mexican-American, was to claim this political identity. My brownness is about this political attitude and inclination.

AC: YES! My brownness was never just about a social or cultural identity; it was always a political identity. I feel like especially as an Asian American, that’s very important to claim because a progressive political Asian American identity isn’t always visible to us as Asian Americans or to the larger society. Ways of being brown and yellow in a political way are often made invisible by how Asian Americans are portrayed in mainstream media and academia. That history is there but it’s so minimized.

AE: I think Latino brown and African American black bodies are seen as political a priori. They’re trouble for the nation. You’re right that with Asian bodies, this whole model minority myth becomes a way of seeing those bodies as apolitical and as accommodating to Whiteness.

AC: At the same time, there’s a whole history of Asian Americans being seen as perpetual foreigners. The Chinese Exclusion Act. A whole history of being excluded from the nation at the same time, once we were included, we were used as a wedge. I loved the “we are not your wedge” movement, a critique of how Asian Americans are often invoked in debates about affirmative action. I love that the younger generation is thinking about our positionality critically and taking that on. I did come to my Asian American political identity but for me, that came after I thought of myself more nebulous as being “of color.”

AE: And I think it was the opposite for me.

AC: Luckily, having 40% students of color meant that there was a good number of Asian American students who were political and it was awesome to grow up with them. Grow up politically.

AE: Talking about brownness in this way, in the sense of our glorious brownness, what does it mean to have brown people but not brown in our kind of way?

AC: Politically? For me, brownness isn’t just cultural, but it is also cultural. To me, there isn’t necessarily a dichotomy but I do understand how sometimes the kinds of cultural practices we engage in as a community reifies certain ideas about tradition and community that can hold back contemporary and more critical forms of cultural practices. When I’m with a group of queer, South Asian folks, sometimes it’s political, sometimes we’re just making fun of our reactions to Indian sweets. I appreciate that kind of brown space too.

AE: There’s something deeply political about these moments of self-care in a world that does not care of  you. But I wasn’t thinking of moments like that. I was thinking of the difficulties of living in a larger community where I expect alliances simply because we inhabit a similar kind of brownness. Then you realize that it’s not a given that my brownness is going to align with their brownness and that our interests can be divided.

AC: And I think this is also where critical mass matters. I learned that lesson at Swarthmore.

AE: You learned a lot at Swarthmore.

AC: Not because of the institution. Because of my classmates. Even if half the Asian American community wasn’t involved, didn’t want anything to do with us, it was okay…

AC: So…are we done talking about brownness?

AE: Yeah, I think we’re done. For now!

Being In and Not Of the University

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For your reading pleasure this week, we present you with a forum published in the Boston Review that highlights contributions from Robin Kelley, students activists, and other faculty. Titled “Black Study, Black Struggle,” the conversation aims to consider whether or not universities are appropriate or adequate sites of activism.

Kelley’s description of the kind of “betrayal and disappointment” that Black students experience once getting to the colleges they were heavily recruited to resonated with what we have heard from students of color on our campus.

Indeed, to some extent campus protests articulated the sense of betrayal and disappointment that many black students felt upon finding that their campuses failed to live up to their PR. Many students had come to the university expecting to find a welcoming place, a nurturing faculty, and protective administration. If they believed this, it was in no small part because university recruiters wanted them to: tours for prospective students, orientations, and slickly produced brochures often rely on metaphors of family and community, highlight campus diversity, and emphasize the sense of belonging that young scholars enjoy.

Kelley argues that students need to be careful about how they deploy “the language of personal trauma” in their activism and cautions student activists that “managing trauma does not require dismantling structural racism, which is why university administrators focus on avoiding triggers rather than implementing zero-tolerance policies for racism or sexual assault.” He also calls for the creation of intellectual spaces on campuses that use the resources of universities without being a part of them. He asks black students “to become subversives in the academy, exposing and resisting its labor exploitation, its gentrifying practices, its endowments built on misery, its class privilege often camouflaged in multicultural garb, and its commitments to war and security.”

The student respondents usefully take up and push back against Kelley’s critiques of their activism, demands, and framing of their experiences. Especially powerful was Charlene Carruthers’s argument that for today’s black student activists, “trauma is inseparable from the love that motivates activism. It is love in the face of repeated trauma that governs my work and the work of so many young black folks with whom I organize in communities across the country. We cannot separate our pain from our resistance.” Aaron Bady reminded us, two tenured professors, of the positions we occupy on our campus: “…if professors are in danger of acting on behalf of the institution—of mistaking its identity for their own—students tend to understand their place in this machine with much more clarity. Theirs is the exploited labor that makes the university operate; theirs is the debt that funds professorial salaries and endowment; theirs is the place that must soon be vacated to make room for fresher meat.”