A very good and honest piece from Inger Mewburn, a.k.a., The Thesis Whisperer, about waking up to racism in academia, and her own white privilege:
At the time Joe and I were both looking for more permanent work in academia. It has to be said that neither of us were having much luck. I barely waited to put in my lunch order before debriefing him on my latest unsuccessful job interview. Once again, I had been passed over for a man who, I felt, was less qualified to do the teaching than I was. It was my 5th knock back and I was beginning to seriously question my sanity.
At the time I didn’t understand that people don’t get jobs in academia just because they are good at stuff like teaching. Connections, histories, reputations – they all matter. Now it’s perfectly obvious why a professor, who had run out of soft money, would make sure his best research assistant got hired, but at the time I blamed it all on the gender thing (I still don’t think I was entirely wrong to do so).
So I got my rant on to Joe, who ate his lunch and patiently listened to me for around 20 minutes until I had exhausted my rage. Then he said something I have never forgotten:
“Inger. I understand you being pissed off. But consider this. There are some women on permanent staff in that architecture department. There are no Asians.”