OTHERED IN ACADEMIA: A WOC ANTHOLOGY


In academia, women of color are the token black sheep. Our presence provides high diversity points, but our hyper-visible bodies are identity-invisible inside yet another white/male only institution: academia. We all have a unique set of not-designer baggage that carries over from all the –isms of our raced, gendered, queered and classed lives that aren’t addressed properly by institutions that seek to serve white/male clientele. Academia is no different. Indeed, perhaps some schools hide their inequality better; but some schools make little to no effort to mask their disgust by WOC otherness. Though diminished safe spaces and colorblind policies create no end of discomfort for WOC at PWCs, the master narrative delegitimizes our concerns and works to silence our voices and stories.

 

Without you coming forward and telling your story, academia would, once again, be overwhelmed with silenced voices of women of color, contributing to our continued erasure in this sphere. The perspectives that our intersectionality allows us are unique, and offer significant insight into our experiences. Since we are rarely allowed the opportunity to participate on equal footing with our white counterparts – regardless of our level of ability/brilliance/overall awesomeness – I believe that this is a good medium to start being comfortable with our own voices and telling our own stories. I am partial to the printed word, as I am a journalist by training and a poet by passion. I know that my experience at a predominantly white college (PWC) changed my ideas of identity, sense of self and the confidence with which I interact with others on a daily basis. This experience was not all sunshine and rainbows: a lot of it was rainbows, but a graver aspect included my feeling like a second class citizen, like the color of my skin afforded me a status of inferiority that I didn’t deserve in a world that privileged whiteness. I knew that standing alone, my story would not have as strong an impact; but if we pool our voices and come together to relate our experiences of race and identity, there is no telling what we could accomplish!

In this project, I would like you to explicate through poetry, prose, creative non-fiction or photography (if fitting) your experience as a woman of color at a predominantly white college/university. Feel free to be as general or specific as you wish; be it about the administration, sports department, residential life, classroom etc.; as broad as something you’ve realized about race, class, gender and sexuality as a woman of color in a predominantly white school, an analysis of the system that continues to relegate you to inferior status, or that time your history was excluded from the dominant narrative in gender studies class; or based on themes like violence, immigration, LGBTQ and Trans* awareness. I encourage you to include all facets of your identity and make your analysis intersectional.

 

No interpretation of this project is wrong. The only stipulation, in terms of content is that your piece must engage with race in some way. In regards to the form of your piece:

  • Up to 5 poems, no more than 1500 words;
  • Up to 3000 words of prose/essay/creative non-fiction. You may submit one long piece, or up to 3 shorter works. (Feel free to mix genres);
  • Submit each piece in a separate document;
  • Along with your work(s), submit a 50-80 word bio;
  • Compensation is in the form of publication and copy of finished product.

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