ERIC Number: ED396294
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Decoding Mixed Signals: Survival in the Demise of Affirmative Action.
Among personal memories for one minority instructor in literature is witnessing the civil rights movement, that defining period in which people of African descent broke out of the chrysalis of "Jim Crow" and transformed themselves from "colored" to "Black." In 1995, 1,000,000 Black men once again converged on the Capitol in a nonviolent movement toward civil rights. The three decades between that march and the 1963 March on Washington provide a convenient time span for the instructor to reflect on the usefulness of the academic community, which has depicted itself as the bastion of liberality and tolerance. In good part, however, universities are reflective of the attitudes that form the racist understructure of the nation. The federal government has, since George Bush was President, systematically withdrawn funding for financial assistance aimed at non-White students. Serving as the only woman and the only non-White in a group of five tenured professors on a department search committee for a Renaissance dramatist specialist left the instructor with the realization that this exclusive, "secret society"--the search committee--was a microcosm of the department, reflective of the academy's hegemonic ideal. Realistically, non-White literatures are not valued as necessary components to an understanding of the development of world language and culture. To be a minority professor, or a professor of minority literatures, is to live with an awareness that although that literature embodies a wisdom that might do a great deal to heal the United States, it is almost impossible to make it a valued part of the curriculum. (Contains 10 references.) (TB)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Cultural Nationalism; Curriculum Balance; Literary Canon
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English (85th, San Diego, CA, November 16-21, 1995).