Underrepresented Minority Imposter Syndrome


BikeMonkey Post
No, not what you might be thinking. This is not about any disproportional rate of feeling like an imposter on the part of people who are underrepresented in science. (I'm sure that is a reality, btw.) This is going to be about people who feel like they are impersonating an underrepresented class. To the extent that it bothers them to be fulfilling any sort of role where they are expected to be, overtly, a member of that class. I'll let Namnezia explain:

I mean, yea, I'm a minority and I do science, I have not much to say beyond that. What bothers me about these panels is that they imply that if you are somehow different then this difference permeates your every thought all the time, as if every time you walk into the lab you think "Oh I wonder which minority/gay/female/disabled issues I'll be facing today through my unique set of circumstances". I mean no, I'm thinking more along the lines of "I wonder what science will bring today". Or, "my kids were a pain in the ass this morning". Or "I have to pee". To me, being a minority is pretty much a non-issue during my everyday work.

Yeah, pretty much. For most people who are underrepresented and are in a halfway decent workplace. Just like this is the case for most people who are seemingly underrepresented in their other walks of life- perhaps because of the neighborhood they live in, the town or the state. Their socio-economic status. Perhaps because of where their kids go to school or where their spouse works. Or who their family is...or their spouse's family.

Most folks I know of in such situations just bloody go about the business of their lives.

It isn't like shit gets real 24/7.

But sometimes it does. Sometimes.

The fact that one does not have to be on constant alert at all moments of every day for some sort of negative event that is relevant to one's underrepresented class or status does not mean that one will never experience a negative event. The value as a mentor and role model is not dictated by how much adversity one has suffered*. The value is that one has succeeded. After all, the trainees are not seeking advice on how to suffer so much discrimination that they fail...they are looking to succeed.

The fact that there may be some blessed someones out there who are of underrepresented class or status and will never, ever experience any sort of insult, detriment or other noticeable event because of their class or status does not make those people imposters either. In fact this latter may be highly relevant. After all, if such people exist perhaps others do as well. And they are wondering if they are an imposter and/or what sort of loony world they live in which is discrimination free. So you can mentor them, if you feel this way.

Namnezia's comment was made to a post by GertyZ who was pondering whether she should volunteer to lead a roundtable for GLBT issues at a scientific meeting. The post and commentary circle around the notion that it is possible for many GLBT types to "pass". To operate undetected within a majority culture assumption which one does not seemingly fit. Everyone** passes to some degree or other. Passes for majority class and passes for any of a host of minority classes at other times. Rarely** does anyone inhabit a perfect storm of privilege and rarely does anyone inhabit a perfect storm of the lack thereof.

Given this, who is more authentic? Nobody is. We all just live our lives as they unfold. We gain experiences painful or joyous. We get along and get by. We work, we play, we raise our children.

Diverse as we are, our experiences may help others who come behind us along various pathways. Mentoring is, at the very root, using our experiences to help smooth the path for those followers. There is no obligation that I am aware of for the mentee to fit precisely into the footprints of the mentor for this process to be effective.

__
*Although people who are motivated to dismiss and overlook subtle discrimination are fond of playing this sort of Oppression Olympics and implying that if you've never been jumped in an alley by epithet shouting skinheads that all is peachy-keen. Very fond.

**Well, not white educated librul elite uppermiddle class heteronormative jockosporto hailfellowellmet white doods in science, but you take my point.

53 responses so far

  • jekka says:

    I have very minimal first-hand exposure to PIs who are of any minority-esque background. Thus, I appreciate being made aware of the existence of the many productive researchers out there who do fit into an "underrepresented" category, whatever it may be. Just seeing it discussed is a positive (although I never *see* it, only read about it in bloggyland). Also thanks for including discussions of family: a foreign concept to both my current and previous bosses, neither of whom ever even cook dinner.

  • D00d, you fucken jews aren't a goddamn real minority, so get over yourself! You run the whole fucken academia!!!

  • Antagonista says:

    Those last few sentences really clinch it. Rarely do mentor and mentee (or any two humans, I guess) have identical backgrounds/life experiences/etc and yet a lot of benefit can be derived from mentoring interactions without this exact match. Being there as a role model, having taken the career path and gotten to where you are as a non-majority person (and giving a fuck about those toiling along on the path behind you, though this is presumed if you are a genuine mentor I suppose) speaks volumes itself.

  • Isabel says:

    I agree with Physioprof.

    Same goes for "white hispanics".

  • BikeMonkey says:

    I am not a white Hispanic, Isabel.

    PP, what is your deal with Jewish folks, anyway?

    jekka- just so long as you see the whole wide distribution. There are many ways to be a scientist. Exploiting your spouse* is not the only way.

    __
    *naturally said spouse will see it that way anyway, but there are objective comparisons to be made

  • namnezia says:

    That's right Isabel, us white hispanic jews are ready to hatch our evil plan to steal academia from those who rightfully deserve it, as well as all your landscaping jobs and investment banks. Muahahahaha!!!!

    But back to the original post - I do agree that in this case mentoring is important and there is something to be imparted and gained, but what I have an issue with is the assumption by some that I would necessarily want to become a spokesperson or representative for a group. I feel that I can basically speak for myself and am happy to share my experiences, but cannot guarantee that they might represent anyone else's.

  • Isabel says:

    Hey guys chill out I was just agreeing with Physioprof. Complain to him!

    I don't have a "deal" just like to call a spade a spade. Why be so secretive about the wild success of certain groups, pretend it's someone else's success, and then complain about them bitterly (the imaginary someone elses). And to compare Namnezia's situation to yours or Gerty-z's doesn't make sense to me. Gerty-z may "pass" but her situation is not easy and she is an admirable role model. Jews are extremely common and accepted (to put it mildly) in academia and I don't see how white Hispanics are any different from Europeans. Maybe someone could set me straight on this.

    btw I think your "plan" is long past the hatching stage N, lol. At least as far as academia and investment banks (and a few other industries) but I don't get the part about landscaping jobs. I don't think the Hispanics that take those jobs are either white or jewish. Also what do you mean about rightfully deserving them? Who deserves them? You must be thinking about some bullshit CPP said, I don't remember ever saying anything about anyone deserving anything.

  • Isabel says:

    By the way Bikemonkey, I just reread your comment- I didn't realize you were also Jewish. Ah, it all makes sense now! :) :)

  • Anon says:

    “… and I don't see how white Hispanics are any different from Europeans.”

    No, Isabel, you’re totes right: all white people are the same. We should just lump them all together. That’s why I’m totally on board for blaming poor whites for the oppression that’s carried out by the rich and powerful (whites).

    God, now I realize why people think you’re such a nut job.

  • BikeMonkey says:

    Namnezia,
    I don't think you should feel *obligated*. GertyZ either for that matter. I don't see it as a knock if you don't want to have anything to do with minority-focused mentoring situations. Unless it is some specific obligation of your job, of course.

  • Orale Y'all says:

    I think that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences will more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.

  • Isabel says:

    'No, Isabel, you’re totes right: all white people are the same. We should just lump them all together. That’s why I’m totally on board for blaming poor whites for the oppression that’s carried out by the rich and powerful (whites).'

    what does this even mean? Do you think white hispanics are oppressed in a way that other white ethnic groups are not? How is that? Again, how is a white hispanic different from an immigrant, or the child of an immigrant, from Spain? Or Poland, or Italy? Are you saying they are also all underrepresented minorities, on a par with gays and blacks? How is the former an underrepresented minority? I am asking honestly.

    The only people I have ever encountered that think I am a "nut job" are a handful of people in this little blog clique. You can't answer the question, can you, "anon"?

  • Isabel says:

    "I think that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences will more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life."

    hahaha talk about your stereotyping- and better conclusion about what?

  • BikeMonkey says:

    Are you saying you have to be Hickspanic or Red-Nexican to truly qualify as underrepresented, Isabel?

  • Isabel says:

    I am asking you. Why do you consider white hispanics an underrepresented or oppressed minority? I am asking this sincerely.

  • Isabel says:

    Oh, and I also realized that your comment "what's your deal" above was addressed to PP not me. Sorry. I am a bit bleary eyed I guess. My eyestrain problems are back. Anyway, I am just trying to figure out why you have only shown contempt for poor white americans as a group deserving of AA (see your snide remark above for example), but feel all this sympathy for white hispanics. Is that the group Namzenia is supposed to be representing, and why do they need a representative in the first place?

  • CD0 says:

    Isabel,

    you have a lot of free time...

    It's not about being oppressed these days, i hope. I think that it's more about being underrepresented and finding a role model you can identify with. Or somebody who was able to make it, give you a chance and support you. A person who make you feel that you can also make it although you are not like most people around Campus.

    In the Hispanic world it is abolutely normal to have relatives and friends from different racial backgrounds. In countries like Cuba you can see two little girls going to school together, one being black, the other being white, and they are most likely sisters. That's why your preconception of white vs. black vs. whatever sounds ridiculous.

    These days, states like Arizona, Alabama or Georgia have open policies of discrimination that specifically target Hispanics. Hispanics are openly insulted and profiled as a community of criminals in Fox News, for instance (I have watched it). Some republican candidates make bad jocks in public about electrifying desperate emigrants running away from misery and violence. In this context many students of Hipanic background feel more confident being supported by somebody who does not have these preconceptions, not matter the color of his/her skin. It does not have to be necessarily another Hispanic, but somebody who believes in the potential of the mentee an does not have prejudices. These kids just want to fit in.

  • BikeMonkey says:

    Unlike you, Isabel, I see no need to determine on a case by case basis who is sufficiently authentic within a given class based on my own personal idiosyncratic obsessions/beliefs. I just go with the established, Federal rules, regulations and laws.

  • Orale Y'all says:

    Y'all haven't lived until you've had a lox tamale.

  • BikeMonkey says:

    I could go my entire life without being the slightest bit interested in a lox tamale.

  • Isabel says:

    "based on my own personal idiosyncratic obsessions/beliefs"

    What "idiosyncratic" obsessions and beliefs are you referring to? You mean that actual underrepresented groups should be favored in AA, and would make better role models? Yeah, weird idea, huh?

    "I just go with the established, Federal rules, regulations and laws."

    I was waiting for this. An appeal to authority. And I bet you do the same when it comes to the drug war against the American people. Cannabis is bad because the NIDA says so!

    What were these laws based on? And if they are keeping track of the races of Hispanics, by law, why not then promote those from underrepresented races? Maybe that makes too much sense.

    "you have a lot of free time..."

    What does this mean? Idiot.

    "That's why your preconception of white vs. black vs. whatever sounds ridiculous. "

    I never said anything about any preconceptions about white vs. black.

    Your comment is incredibly naive. You are discussing a fairly unusual situation, that has nothing to do with people in positions of power as role models, and even in "colorblind" latin american countries those in powerful positions tend to be white, as you well know. In some countries they are all white, as are all the people in the upper classes even when the majority is not. Look at Mexico. Really, it's all mixed up eh? Why do the people in power not look like the majority of the population?

    You are saying that a dark-skinned Native American or black Hispanic will be inspired by seeing yet another Hispanic white male reach a position of power? That's a bit of a stretch. Do you have any actual evidence that white hispanics are an underrepresented minority in the US? And that the presence of people like N. has an effect? Any evidence at all? I would really be interested in that. Looking around the science departments of my own university I see exactly zero obviously black or Indian Hispanic professors.

    In any case he has benefited, by his own admission, from AA but he doesn't even want to make the effort to be a role model, which everyone here agrees is fine, so what's the point?

    "It does not have to be necessarily another Hispanic, but somebody who believes in the potential of the mentee an does not have prejudices. "

    But he doesn't even want to be in the mentor position. And it doesn't even have to be another hispanic, just an unprejudiced person by your own admission. Well that was helpful! :)

  • Namnezia says:

    Presumably isabel, 'he' in your comment refers to me, although your screeching is hard to parse, so correct me if I'm wrong. So when did I say I benefitted from affirmative action?? Second, when did I say I did not want to be a mentor? Are you implying I do not deserve to be where I am careerwise because unfair advantages? Really, has your racism come to that? Personal attacks?

  • Isabel says:

    Racism? What racism?

    "screeching"? Nice way to be dismissive. I just reread my comments, seem pretty rational and measured to me. Why don't you answer some of my questions about evidence. Where is the evidence that a white hispanic is less inclined to be racist than other whites?

    Also, you wrote about checking Chicano or Hispanic on a grant that you eventually received, on the advice of your mentor.

  • Isabel says:

    btw I fully support and encourage AA for Blacks and native Americans (from both north and south). How does that make me a racist? I just don't think the opportunities should go to whites, who are more likely to get to the point of taking advantage of those opportunities.

  • Isabel says:

    My last comment was in reference to Latin America of course, and AA that is specifically aimed at that population. Are you disagreeing with my assessment of the correlation between class and race in Latin America, with a few exceptions of course? Is that what you are calling racist?

    If you grew up poor in Argentina or something and are the first in your family to attend college I am glad you had help, but 1) how would the child of one of the landscapers you mentioned above know that, or even know that you exist, since you don't want to stand out (people need to get pretty far to reach the mentoring stage and it sounds like you might not even have a hispanic surname?) and 2) I don't think that showing need etc is usually part of the application process- or was it?

    I don't mean to attack you personally, but it is the subject of the post and you have commented pretty freely so seems like fair game. No offense intended.

  • Namnezia says:

    So checking "hispanic" on a grant application means I was propped along by AA? Nice logic. You're right Isabel, I guess racist is the wrong term. Maybe I should have said xenophobe and antisemite. Plus how do you know the extent of my outreach activities that do not involve sitting in university panels? Maybe I work with kids from low income backgrounds. Maybe I run programs to increase diversity among university students. You have no sense of anything, and you are missing the point of this whole discussion. Finally, you have no clue what my first and last names are IRL, unless of course you've been snooping. In which case my conversation with you is done. Please stay away from me and refrain from mentioning me, I want no association with you.

  • BikeMonkey says:

    I fully support and encourage AA for Blacks and native Americans (from both north and south)

    you do? I thought you applied a means test to your support? I mean didn't you get all fronty about supposed wealthy african-american and other tan-americans who were sucking up all the affirmative action money you'd prefer see spent on white appalachian-americans?

    My last comment was in reference to Latin America

    ooooh. I see. no chance of any tan-yet-rich folks taking unfair advantage of affirmative action policies south of the border eh? certainly you must be able to find *some* pocket of scotch-irish impoverished residents of LatinoAmericano to worry about, no?

  • Anon says:

    “btw I fully support and encourage AA for Blacks and native Americans (from both north and south).”

    BULLSHIT!! You have REPEATEDLY argued on MANY blogs that wealthy members of underrepresented groups do not need AA and should not get AA.

    And when people called you racist for doing so, I felt bad for you and thought them ungenerous for not giving you the benefit of the doubt. And I spoke up in your defense under my real name, which I now regret. Now I realize that your detractors simply knew you better than I did….

  • becca says:

    Serious part:

    Truthfully, there have been contexts where I've thought about panel speakers "this
    was the closest we could find to a minority?" or "this is the harshest experience anyone on the panel ever had?" (usually the later actually relates to despair that the dozens of grad students who have had harder times will be filtered out and/or those that stick around long enough to be on panels are by the time they end up on them totally afraid of speaking up about things).
    That said, it's still often better than nothing to hear about some of those experiences. All one can do from the mentor side is be honest about your experiences and present them as just that.
    And of course really, it would probably be better for all concerned if we could start to think a little more wholistically about kyriarchy rather than individual isms.

    Snarky part:

    On the one hand, I tend not to agree with what Isabel says as a reflex, at this point.
    On the other hand, it does occur to me that all the good mentorship in the world won't do as much disproportionate good for minorities as the drug war does disproportionate harm.

    Also, lox tamale? I could totes see salsa on a latke but let's not get all crazylike.

  • Namnezia says:

    Y'all haven't tried spicy gefilte fish a la Veracruzana (really!).

  • LadyLobo says:

    The post and CD0's comments make great points.

    As a Latina/Chicana/tan-american grad student I have been asked what a university and grad program can do to recruit and retain underrepresented minorities (PS the numbers for the representation of different races and ethnicities are available for all to see on the NIH's website). And the thing that I always hear but till recently have had a problem understanding is: mentors that look like me.

    Having a mentor that had my background was never an option for me, so I made do. Its not like my PI's lack of ovaries have made data impossible to discuss, much less his not being able to sing Las Mananitas. What I have realized is that I have a personality where I dont have a problem walking up to my boss and demanding his time and help. And in college I didn't hesitate to seek out help when I needed it. Apparently that is a rare trait in Latinas. So the idea is that increasing the accessibility of Latina mentors will increase the retention of Latina mentees.

    Long story short is that everyone needs help from mentors to succeed and the mentor-mentee is generally easier when the two have something in common. This commonality can be racial but it can also be a similar affinity to Belgian Beers or splunking.

  • Isabel says:

    "So checking "hispanic" on a grant application means I was propped along by AA? Nice logic."

    I didn't say "propped along". And that was how you presented it, that your advisor thought it would increase your chances. If that not a form of AA, what is it?

    "Maybe I should have said xenophobe and antisemite."

    wtf??? You cannot just throw those terms around. They have real meaning. I am absolutely neither. Why don't you get on Physioprof's case, btw, for his offensive antisemitic comments?

    "Finally, you have no clue what my first and last names are IRL, unless of course you've been snooping."

    I was just suggesting, based on your previous articles, that it's possible that you may not even have an hispanic sounding name. I really don't know, of course. You seem very sensitive about this. Sorry to have upset you, but if it is not up for discussion why keep posting about it?

    "Please stay away from me and refrain from mentioning me, I want no association with you."

    Stay away from you? What the hell are you talking about? We are not even on your blog.

    "you do? I thought you applied a means test to your support? I mean didn't you get all fronty about supposed wealthy african-american and other tan-americans who were sucking up all the affirmative action money you'd prefer see spent on white appalachian-americans? "

    No I never did get "fronty", BikeMonkey. I did say that the rich whites should be the ones moving over and making room, and that ALL underrepresented groups deserve AA, which would include the non-rich. And I suggested poor blacks are more underrepresented as well as poor whites. I just don't see that this strategy is working in academia. Again do you have any evidence that it is? Not long ago, everybody was complaining how lily white academia is. Now you want more white people? For the sake of diversity? Just because they are from a spanish speaking country? Because they might inspire non-white people from spanish speaking countries?

    "BULLSHIT!! You have REPEATEDLY argued on MANY blogs that wealthy members of underrepresented groups do not need AA and should not get AA. "

    No I did not say that, "anon". I said that when socioeconomic class is ignored, wealthy members of the underrepresented groups benefit, yet I do not see much evidence that it helps the larger underrepresented population. Upper class people often have more in common with each other than with lower class people in their respective ethnic or racial groups, which doesn't lead to diversity in outlook, culture, etc. I am experiencing this right now in grad school. Do you see evidence that it is working?? I keep asking for evidence and no one can provide it. I know at least one poor black person who got a scholarship to one of the top Ivies and found it very alienating and disappointing that all the other blacks were from wealthy backgrounds.

    I have done my own research on AA, since no one is willing to answer my questions, and I think I understand some of the misunderstanding and subsequent anger, but I'll make it a separate comment. I can see the potential value of having higher class blacks in theory, but is it working in practice? As I said, at my university, blacks and Native Americans are very rare in the sciences, while they are a large percentage of the community (especially those N.A.'s from central and south America).

    "but till recently have had a problem understanding is: mentors that look like me."

    But we are talking about people who are white, who do not look like you. That was my original point!

    "t does occur to me that all the good mentorship in the world won't do as much disproportionate good for minorities as the drug war does disproportionate harm. "

    Yes!!!!!!!!!

  • Isabel says:

    This article on the history of AA was very helpful to me in understanding others' positions as well as their misunderstanding and puzzling, repeated mis-characterizations of my position.

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/affirmative-action/-

    This history comes to a sort of conclusion, after outlining a lot of long and interesting debate, that in the dichotomy that BikeMonkey presents above, a rich black candidate vs a poor white coal miners son, the poor white is not losing any opportunity that he shouldn't have had in the first place. This is the kind of muddled thinking that results from ignoring the issue of class.

    This conclusion, while it seems reasonable, would hold if all whites were equal. But they are not. By simplifying and assuming that "white males" have had too many unfair opportunities so they have no right to complain, this position ignores the enormous amount of under-representation of poor whites.

    If we want to increase representation of groups that have traditionally been denied access, in part to promote diversity of experience and opinion, as emphasized in this history of AA, we will get both these things from increasing representation of lower income people.

    The group that is vastly over-represented is wealthy whites, not whites.

  • Isabel says:

    To be clear, before I am attacked by BikeMonkey yet again, I don't think one form of AA should replace the other; I think they are all important. As I said above, and have said before, it is the rich whites who should be moving over and giving up their slots, not just whites in general, because logic and life experience tells us who will be sacrificing when we make whiteness the only criterion. The over represented upper-class whites should move over and make room for underrepresented groups of all types.

  • Anon says:

    "You are saying that a dark-skinned Native American or black Hispanic will be inspired by seeing yet another Hispanic white male reach a position of power? That's a bit of a stretch. "

    "Now you want more white people? For the sake of diversity? Just because they are from a spanish speaking country? Because they might inspire non-white people from spanish speaking countries?"

    As CD0 and other comments make clear, Isabel, the perception of race within the Hispanic community is different from that which exists at large in the US. That doesn’t mean that there is no racism in Latin America, but … *it’s a very different ball of wax.* So yes, a black Hispanic can be inspired by the success of another Hispanic, even if that Hispanic is white. I don’t expect people who are not Hispanic to fully understand that, but maybe you can shut up long enough to let those who actually know what they are talking about in this case to be heard.

  • hn says:

    I'm not an underrepresented minority, but I did come from an uneducated, lower class upbringing. I do think about my background regularly at work. I teach at a big state R1 where there are many students from similar backgrounds. I remember how unfamiliar college was to me, and how intimidated I felt by faculty and even grad students. Because of that, I make a strong effort to be approachable to all students.

  • Isabel says:

    "but maybe you can shut up long enough to let those who actually know what they are talking about in this case to be heard."

    Nice manners. here, "Anon". Charming. How is anyone prevented from expressing their opinions by my posting? Jerk.

    "So yes, a black Hispanic can be inspired by the success of another Hispanic, even if that Hispanic is white."

    Even if they don't know that the person is Hispanic? Hmm, maybe it's true, I will never understand the mysterious ways of the wise Latinos with their rich experiences. :)

    btw can you cite any evidence that this strategy actually is effective? I don't see evidence of it at my university. When do you predict hat we will start seeing some results?

    And why take such a vague indirect route- why not give the opportunities to darker skinned Hispanics, who are the actual underrepresented group, directly?

    "I don’t expect people who are not Hispanic to fully understand"

    Apparently Bikemonkey, Drugmonkey, becca and the US government totally get it. They are all tuned in to the mysterious ways of the wise Latinos I suppose. It's just that no one can explain it. Or show any evidence that it works. But it is so important they wrote it into law.

    Yeah, "anon" I'm sure the dark skinned majority in Mexico does not resent the white ruling class one bit! That's a totally North American thing. Only white Americans can really be racist, you know, the bad kind of racists. Not the good kind, like in Latin American, where noone really means it. Where, when the day is done, everybody, of all colors, holds hands and sings Kumbaya, as one people.

  • Isabel says:

    "hn says:I'm not an underrepresented minority, but I did come from an uneducated, lower class upbringing. I do think about my background regularly at work. I teach at a big state R1 where there are many students from similar backgrounds. I remember how unfamiliar college was to me, and how intimidated I felt by faculty and even grad students. Because of that, I make a strong effort to be approachable to all students."

    It sounds like you are from an underrepresented majority hn, which is lower class people. I'm glad you are approachable. I could have used that in college also. I try to talk about my background as well when I teach, and to be approachable to students. I wish people who were simply from lower class backgrounds were invited to speak on diversity panels. And that lower class white students had clubs or support groups that they could join, so they could know they are not alone. Even when one gains more confidence, the alienation never really goes away. It is hard to relate to people with different backgrounds, childhood stories, who take nice vacations, who talk about the cool jobs and travels of family members, when your own experience contrasts in a way you know they will look down on, or pity you if you open up about it. Of course, they wouldn't be able to do this so easily and thoughtlessly if there was more representation of lower class people, especially at top universities. I think the ratio of rich kids to poor kids is 25 to 1 at the Ivies. Class differences are very similar to cultural differences. They are cultural differences.

  • drugmonkey says:

    And that lower class white students had clubs or support groups that they could join, so they could know they are not alone. Even when one gains more confidence, the alienation never really goes away.

    I don't see many people disagreeing with you on this point, Isabel. And, as has been pointed out to you, most affirmative action efforts in academia do indeed encompass poor socio-economic background, first generation college, and other considerations. Your apparent view that this is absent from the table is just not consistent with my experience at multiple levels of higher education.

  • Isabel says:

    You never did answer my inquiry about your own efforts, in your own lab, in this respect. I have never seen a white person who grew up poor on a diversity panel. And I certainly see no complaints or posts about the dismal lack of success in this area. Or come to think of it, posts on the subject of recruiting poor whites on Scientopia. No answers as to why white 'hispanics' are favored in terms of diversity; why slurs for poor US whites are allowed on this blog and in general in academia; I could go on and on. But thanks for the lip service.

  • Isabel says:

    And by poor I mean too poor to have the background, prep-school education, connections, and money to make it to an Ivy league university. What is the ratio these days at the Ivies?

  • Orale Y'all says:

    The issue, of course, is how to define this mythical "white Hispanic" that Isabel keeps harping on. The majority of Hispanics are multiracial. Almost all of our ancestors got fucked by the white man and within an individual family there can be a variety of skin tones.

    Don't you cabrones read Razib?

    I have blue eyes while my sister has brown eyes. She looks more like what Isabel would call Native American than I do. So, even though the source of our genetics are the same, she is supposed to check Native American and Hispanic and I check White and Hispanic according to Isabel's mythical racial litmus test?

    This is why we need a "Hickspanic" box.

  • Anon says:

    Speaking as a white Hispanic who got a full ride to Harvard (back when you needed to be a Hispanic of the Mexican-American or Puerto-Rican variety to qualify for AA, which I was not), I’m proof that you don’t need money to make it to an Ivy. Financial aid is even more generous today at rich Ivies than it was back in my time. The recruiter from Harvard came to my high school because it was in a poor neighborhood – when I later worked in the financial aid office, I learned that they do this for schools all across the country.

    Yes, at times it was lonely – I spent my freshman year Thanksgiving alone in my largely empty dorm, because I didn’t have money to fly back home for Christmas *and* Thanksgiving, and I was too embarrassed to admit this to anyone. But had there been a club populated by other white folks from poor backgrounds who went on about the “mysterious ways of the wise Latinos,” I would have stayed the hell away, because I know exactly what that’s code for.

    Isabel, you are your own (and your causes’) worst enemy.

  • El Picador says:

    I have blue eyes ...

    yeah but are the blue eyes only photoshopped in?

  • Isabel says:

    "club populated by other white folks from poor backgrounds who went on about the “mysterious ways of the wise Latinos,”"

    I was sarcastically quoting someone on this thread, dumbass. if it's code for something complain to them! I don't know what the hell it means. I was complaining about the stereotyping before you.

    Oh wait- it was you!

    "I think that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences will more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life."

    "The issue, of course, is how to define this mythical "white Hispanic" that Isabel keeps harping on"

    Mythical? Harping? It's a category on census forms and grant applications. I just don't get why this is a special category. I grew up hearing Polish jokes. You know, how stupid Poles are, haha. I think they deserve a special category after all that suffering, don't you?

    And yes, I do read Razib.

    I see the crowds of men waiting for work as day hires. They are ALL short, dark skinned, with similar features. I work as a nanny, and get to know their wives and many of the men. I have never seen one man waiting for a job as a day laborer who was tall and white.

    "she is supposed to check Native American and Hispanic and I check White and Hispanic according to Isabel's mythical racial litmus test?"

    My litmus test? I think the government designed it. I think it is stupid. If you are light skinned and blue-eyed, how are you disadvantaged over a lower class white person in the economically tanking midwest, or perpetually poor and hated southern US? Or the children of mocked and exploited Poles? Can you list some actual evidence of underrepresentation, and evidence that you can contribute more than they could to the goals of "diversity" in the top tier universities of the US?

    "Almost all of our ancestors got fucked by the white man "

    The white hispanics got fucked by the white hispanics. Okay. Did you know that many Europeans emigrated to Latin American much more recently than the age of fucking over that you love referring to? Why should they and their children receive preference in American universities and other programs. No one will answer this question.

  • Isabel says:

    "I’m proof that you don’t need money to make it to an Ivy."

    Case closed.

    That the Ivies are populated by rich kids is obviously a myth!

  • physioprof says:

    Loonabel, you gibbering fuckewadde, go read the following motherfucken blogge, and don't come back:

    http://wearerespectablenegroes.blogspot.com/

  • Isabel says:

    I've read that blog, so what? It has no relevance to this discussion. Do you have anything to contribute to the discussion?

    Can you answer a single one of my questions? Nope.

    So go away and don't come back! :P

  • It has no relevance to this discussion.

    The fact that you genuinely believe that is a symptom of your abject cluelessness.

  • Isabel says:

    Does it explain why some white groups add more to the diversity of a school or department than other white groups? Could you provide a more specific link? I work with black K-12 students already, and support AA for blacks in general, as I have said a hundred times; why are you sending me to this link? Does it explain why lower class students are not also seriously considered by the bloggers on this site when it comes to discussions of underrepresentation and increasing diversity? The one person who insisted that money was no barrier to attending Ivy league schools (as if it was all about covering the tuition) admitted that they were alone during the holidays. As a rich person from a comfortable background, why do you consider yourself more qualified to discuss the subject than a student from a poor background?

  • PhysioProf says:

    What that blog explains is why whenever there is a discussion of race, liberal racism rears its head and compels you to change the subject to class and the plight of poor whites. That and your total lack of self-awareness are symptoms of the disease of Whiteness.

  • Isabel says:

    "the disease of Whiteness?" Oh boy. Whiteness is now a disease? And white hispanics are a race? And this discussion only includes race? What about Gerty-z? I think she is white. I thought we were discussing underrepresented groups in academia. You are actually proving my point by insisting that class is the one category that doesn't count. Don't project your rich, spoiled, bigoted liberal disease onto an entire race.

    And if you want to go with the PC rules you'd better straighten yourself out- you're breaking them right now. Please go look in the mirror, admit you are a bigot, and start unpacking your knapsack, pronto!

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