Jul 16 2014

Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia

When Arizona State University English professor Ersula Ore was stopped by a campus cop for jay walking, she found herself in a tussle that ended up with her being pushed to the ground and handcuffed. Perhaps it was presumed that she did not belong on campus because she was a black woman. While many expressed shock at her treatment, women of color in academia who experience daily micro-aggressions were likely unsurprised at Professor Ore’s treatment.

A new book of essays gives voice to the myriad challenges facing women of color in the Academy. It is called Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia. In it, 40 authors explore the various obstacles women of color academics face through personal anecdotes and damning statistics and their chronicles of constant aggressions.

While the demographics of student bodies are reflecting the increasing diversity of the population at large, college professors are still mostly white, and mostly male. As tenured positions begin to disappear, women of color are more represented in lower ranked positions.

The book Presumed Incompetent is a call to break the silence on what black and brown women face as researchers, instructors, and professors.

GUESTS: Angela P. Harris is a professor of Law at the UC Davis School of Law. She has been a visiting professor at the law schools of Stanford, Yale, and Georgetown and served in 2010 as vice dean of research and faculty development at the State University of New York – University at Buffalo School of Law;

Yolanda Flores Niemann is a Professor & Senior Vice Provost at the University of North Texas Department of Psychology, and has served as dean and, vice provost at Utah State University. They are two of the four editors of the book, along with Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs and Carmen G. Gonzalez

Click here to read an excerpt of the book.

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