Manya Whitaker, PhD, Developmental/Educational Psychologist; Assistant Professor of Education; Educational Consultant
This is a timely and deeply important question. As a faculty member of color at a private institution of higher education, I grapple with these issues each day. I echo what Vielka Hoy said--we need to first move away from our initial reaction to judge the validity of one's feelings. I would like to add to her comments that in order to support students, it is imperative that faculty and staff on college campuses undergo frequent and deep diversity training. These trainings need to be taught by trained scholars in the field who can help academics look beyond their personal experiences to understand the structural nature of bias and oppression. It is also important that faculty and staff receive pedagogical and leadership training on how to teach/lead/guide students from underrepresented and marginalized groups. So often the language we use (or don't use), to whom we give eye contact, or even the questions we ask are laced with implicit bias and guided by stereotypes we often don't know we hold. The first step to creating and sustaining an inclusive college environment is to recognize our individual role in perpetuating unsafe, and sometimes hostile, spaces.