For me as a young Black male, it has been a blessing and curse to apply for academic positions in predominately White Universities. First and foremost, it has been a blessing for my talents, education, and scholarly writings on social justice have gained enough attention that I am granted an opportunity to discuss my research among scholarly peers who more than likely have never heard of the significance to my area of study in regards to children. Therefore, God has simply allowed a platform to exist for me to spread the seeds of information that will hopefully translate into pushing others forward to attacking the machine of oppression. Since I have a job (not in higher education), I am not in a position like my other peers who are searching and have no financial cushion. For them they will probably have to sacrifice in order to take a position at a university. I can afford to be picky.
The curse comes into play particularly for me in terms of my academic fields of social work and education. Now I know the academy itself is a haven for racist practices. Therefore, I should get over it, right? But social work programs more than others advocate for social justice, equality, and equity for all. But in actuality, they are practitioners of hypocrisy. Evidence of marginalization within social work departments and colleges can be seen through lack of attention within the curriculum in terms of people of color, lack of males of color (i.e., students and faculty), and a lack of actual racial empathy within MSW programs. As I interviewed this year, I have witnessed this and much more. So far, I have been met with smiles from faculty, until I present my research on the social reproduction of racism toward children in public schools. Due to my interests in social control and oppression targeting Black males (K-Higher Education), my current research has raised new questions about the political dynamics and current political tensions within today’s educational structure, particularly as these relate to race and class.
I aim to expand my research by providing scholarship that illustrates how the White racial frame continues to covertly negate, oppress, and control People of color, specifically Black and Hispanic/Latino males within public school and within the university setting. (See: Fitzgerald, T. (forthcoming). [Book Untitled as of yet], Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers; and “Control, Punish, & Conquer: U.S. Public School Historical Attempts to Control Black Males,” Challenge: A Journal of Research on African-American Men, 12(1), 39-54).
Now they see that I will not be scholar who is interested in the status quo in regards to research (i.e., welfare, mothers, gay and LGBT issues, and etc.). Smiles then turn to frowns followed by the racially motivated barrage of attacks that strike from the mouths of those who claim to stand along side the marginalized. This has occurred during 90 percent of my job talks. Interestingly enough, the room is filled with a vast majority of White females. If there are people of color, they typically are not Black. If some Blacks are present, they are more than likely female as well. And it is my experience, as Patricia Collins noted, that they too can move from oppressed to oppressor. The other 10 percent of my experiences have been filled with departments overtly and covertly letting me know that I am wanted for not the content and importance of my research, but for my hue and male genitalia. For them, it is a numbers game. I have come to the conclusion that a disproportionate number of SW programs speaking with the tongue of equality, even while the discipline and its practices fails to adequately address its own racism, female bias, and oppression.