Black in America

PhD ≠ Respect ≠ Assumed Equal Status

The last few months have been a time for reflection and refocus. The time has been great for me to do more reading and planning for my research, but one thing that has not changed has been my positionality. I still get reminded that I am a young Black man from Mississippi. Academic spaces were not made with people like me in mind. I recently went to a meeting for my professional society and no less than three times was I confused for or assumed to be a student. Most of the time, I was the only Black person and was also one of the youngest people there. I am constantly reminded that although I have the same degree, I am not automatically granted that respect. Even when that barrier is crossed, I am talked down to at points, even on topics I have experiential and academic knowledge of. I was asked my thoughts on specific issues relating to my community, only to have my perspective disregarded in favor of what that person already believed.

What do you do when you are at a power disadvantage? What if this person is a senior in your field? How many people like me have been in these situations in which we have to simultaneously be scholars and protect our sanity from racist microaggressions?

And why I gotta deal with this during Black History Month???