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Please, #ThankAPublicScholar

PublicScholar

In this morning’s post on academic freedom, I discussed the real dangers inherent in being a public scholar (especially for critical scholars of marginalized backgrounds).  Let me be clear: job security in the face of external threats is not a trivial matter.  Indeed, the lifetime job security afforded by tenure, and the general academic freedom afforded to most scholars is one of the major perks of this profession over others.  But, attacks on scholars like Saida Grundy, Steven Salaita, Anthea Butler, Brittney Cooper, Tony Brown, and Sarak Kenzdoir highlight that tenure and academic freedom are not enough to protect public scholars from libel and slander, hostility, hate mail, and threats of violence.

It’s time to be real.  Being a public scholar is dangerous.  And, it’s generally a thankless job that many of us volunteer to do.  Rarely does it count toward tenure and promotion, so we truly are doing it because we believe in justice and want to make a difference in the world beyond the ivory tower.  In line with my call for the creation of supportive communities for public scholars (and in general), I propose a call to action to start supporting and thanking our colleagues who write and speak in public, who critique injustice and oppression, and those who work for and/or with community groups.

  1. Share a public scholar’s work with your networks.  Share blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, listservs.  Forward their work to those who might find it useful for their work, well-being, or understanding of the world.  Include their work in your classes, perhaps as assigned reading or for extra credit.  Help your colleagues broaden their reach.
  2. Engage a public scholar’s work.  If you like a blog post you read, comment or write a response on your own blog.  Tweet a response rather than just reteweeting.  Or, send them a email if you prefer to communicate privately.  Be careful not to convey disagreement as hostility or a character assault.
  3. Say “thank you” and “I appreciate you.”  I recommend this particularly when you see a colleague coming under fire, but this should be a regular habit, too.  Send a short email to let them know you appreciate their work and the time they put into it.  Send a tweet using the hashtag, #ThankAPublicScholar, to note why you appreciate them, and to encourage others to follow them, as well.  If you’re like me, sometimes you get starstruck when you meet very popular/visible public scholars; try to avoid this to simply engage them as a human and colleague (they’ll appreciate it).
  4. Push your department/university to recognize and value public scholarship toward tenure and promotion.  This should also entail offering greater protection to public scholars who may, at any time, become the target of hostility and threats.

I don’t say this because I want to be showered with praise and appreciation.  But, I can tell you that becoming a target with little explicit support from colleagues can feel very isolating.  I would be lying if I said I simply ignored the haters; I have, indeed, been emotionally affected, and spend a lot less time on social media than before.  I relish the ever-growing traffic that this blog sees, but the numbers pale in comparison to a simple note that says “thank you for writing this.”  We, as scholars, are inundated with critique, from peer review to student evaluations to tenure and promotion.  But, those critiques can feel like a pinprick compared to the ugly backlash some public scholars have faced.

So, will you heed my call?  Will you thank a public scholar or two for me?  Thank you.

On Dealing With Online Criticism And Trolls For Academics

Haters

If you follow me on Twitter — @grollman 🙂  — you may have seen me complain about online trolls and other criticism every once in a while.  But, I usually give the caveat that what I have faced from nay-sayers online is a mild irritation compared to the hate mail and threats that other academic bloggers (especially women) have received.  Sadly, even the most seasoned among us do not know how to deal with the criticism and hostility we receive online.  How do we stop it?  Or, how do we at least ignore it?  I have zero expertise to offer on the subject, but I do offer a few tips from things that have (and have not) worked for me.

A few tips, which, in places, will seem contradictory — but, choose what works best for you!

  • Pursue legal action… but, don’t bother.  To be safe, I consulted with the legal counsel at my university.  Free speech, which seems so much freer online, eliminates any real options.  Apparently libel is almost impossible to demonstrate because the (huge) burden of proving you were harmed in some way by it falls on you.  Legal dead-ends aside, I found relief in notifying my university and being reassured that what a few cowardly anonymous colleagues say about me online has no baring on my status or job.
  • Also, notify trusted (senior) colleagues.  Initially, I let my chair and dean know just to be on the safe side.  I would rather be ahead of the criticisms to avoid surprises in formal evaluations.  One expected benefit of these conversations was their appreciation of the risks involved on the work that I do (i.e., blogging).  I suppose this links back to the “you’ve arrived” sentiment; if you are pissing off white supremacists and closed-minded colleagues, you must be pushing the right buttons as a scholar.  I do want to express some caution about letting others know because it could backfire, particularly if you must “out” yourself as an activist or blogger or whatever else you might do that is not valued in your department and institution.
  • To extend the point above — do not suffer in silence.  Talk to someone about what you are going through.  When dealing with online criticism and hostility, the anonymity and amorphousness of the internet can make you feel like you are alone in a hostile world.
  • Don’t seek it out!  Fortunately, the criticism I face is almost exclusively contained in one relatively unknown site.  When I stopped visiting that site, I generally stopped being exposed to online criticism.   I realized I was giving power to cowardly, closed-minded colleagues by welcoming the stupid things they say about me into my life.  At the moment, I feel that the opinions that are really worth my attention are those that put as much time and energy into responding to me as I put into my writing.  Negative tweets and comments on your blog/website are quick and easy, often reflecting an unfiltered, grammatically incorrect rant that one would never say to your face.  (Really, why not extend a healthy dialogue by writing a response on your OWN blog?)  Certainly on others’ blogs/sites, do not read the comments!  The downside of this tip is that it will not work for writers and bloggers who have really eager critics and trolls that take the time to email you or contact you in other ways.
  • Ask someone else to keep up with what is written about you on the internet — and only let you know about the most important things, and maybe anything positive.  Really, if someone really wants you to read what they have written, good or bad, they should be sending it directly to you.
  • Related to the previous point — if others let you know about new criticism online, probably out of concern, you do not have to look at it!  Maybe ask them to give a summary if you want to know anything about it.  Or, let them know that, for future reference, you prefer not to know.  Good friends should appreciate that this approach is best for self-care.
  • Don’t take it personally.  Yeah, even I struggle with this one.  But, once some time has passed and there is some distance between me and some bit of criticism, I begin to see that others’ criticism is often a reflection of something other than me.  When I began blogging occasionally for Inside Higher Ed, I received a few comments that essentially say “I am angry about the adjunctification/corporatization of academia,” albeit in the form of a snarky remark toward me.  You may also find that the hostility reflects implicit rules about who is allowed to speak, especially when critiquing academia, or the status quo, etc.  At this stage in my career, some believe I have no right to criticize the discipline or profession.  Besides age/seniority/experience, it seems closed-minded academics are very intolerant of marginalized scholars (and I include here contingent faculty and graduate students) daring to speak up.  These identities and statuses are personal, but criticism outside of real effort engage in dialogue really says more about your critics and their values.

Some of the above I have borrowed from friends’ advice and the following sites:

My Interview On Social Media Use And The Academic Job Market

In the winter issue of the newsletter of the Medical Sociology section of the American Sociological Association, you will find an interview by UGA sociology PhD student Jessica Seberger with me on social media use and the academic job market.  Jessica, as the Student Newsletter Editor, has been interviewing recent PhDs about their experiences on the job market and in the early part of their career in academia, with a particular focus on using social media for research, teaching, and service.  I was honored to be her latest interviewee!

You can see the full newsletter [download PDF] or just the interview below.

____

For my stint as student editor I want to explore how recent PhDs found and secured positions within or outside of academia and how sociologists (with a focus on medical sociologists) connect to others through technology. I intend to explore discussion with sociologists who communicate extensively through Twitter, those who use groups on Facebook as a resource for classroom material, those who have and  maintain personal/professional blogs, and those who contribute op-ed pieces to major news outlets.

For this edition of the newsletter I interviewed Dr. Eric Grollman. Dr. Grollman recently received his PhD from Indiana University and has secured a tenure-track position at the University of Richmond. Dr. Grollman’s research examines the impact that prejudice and discrimination has on marginalized groups’ health, well -being, and world views. Within the last year he has also restarted a blog he started in graduate school. That blog, ConditionallyAccepted.com, provides a space for scholars who exist at the margins of academia. In the following interview we discuss his new position, his blog, and social media use by sociologists in academia.

JS: You’ve recently joined the University of Richmond as tenure-track professor. What made this position a good fit for you? How was your transition from graduate school to assistant professor?

Dr. Grollman: What I was looking for, on the job market, was a place where a good balance between personal life and professional life was possible. I’d heard this was more doable at a liberal arts institution. I also really wanted to work at a place where there was an acknowledged synergy between doing research and teaching. When I interviewed at the University of Richmond one of the professors whom I met with mentioned that they focused on this synergy, and I was drawn to that. I expected my transition to professor to be a bumpy transition, but making the switch from graduate student to professor isn’t as automatic as you’d expect. I also had plans to be politically neutral my first year but there were a couple of times where I stepped on political landmines that I didn’t know about and I had to deal with the consequences of that. So I was hoping to quietly focus on my work and establish myself but there was still political stuff that I found myself bumping up against.

JS: In the last year you’ve restarted a blog you started as a graduate student. What inspired you to start the blog? Could you tell me a bit about it?

Dr. Grollman: I wanted to play it safe while on the job market so I censored my online social media accounts while on the job market but that self-censorship took a toll. At some point I thought to myself, “I can’t do this anymore,” especially at a time when I was starting to see parts of academia that were really kind of ugly and upsetting [note from JS: see conditionallyaccepted.com for more details]. This was all when I was most socially isolated because I was working on my dissertation. So I started this blog where I planned to write about instances of discrimination and micro-aggressions, while keeping myself anonymous. But, I still felt it was too risky to do this while on the job market, so I deleted the blog. After graduating I still felt like there needed to be some space within academia, particularly for marginalized scholars who face these difficult and unfair experiences. I felt like these experiences needed to be highlighted so people can stop suffering in isolation. I found out later that many of my experiences were common, but I didn’t have those stories accessible to me. I hope that with this blog I can have this space where people are telling these stories, and talking about how they navigated through these experiences so we can make these experiences transparent.

JS: How have others responded to your blog within the field of sociology?

Dr. Grollman: It’s hard to gauge. I keep waiting for the shoe to drop, for someone to say, “Okay, you’re out of here, you’re fired.” So I’m still waiting for that but it hasn’t come yet. Ironically, I came to the University of Richmond thinking that this was a great place for me because no one would give me grief about blogging.  Initially, I still kept it really private, in part so I could gauge the political climate. At colloquy, when new faculty are introduced to the full faculty body, my dean introduced me and said, “Oh, this is Eric Grollman, he’s a new professor of sociology and he blogs, sometimes personal and critical reflections.” My heart dropped because I was being outed in such a big way. I kept waiting to hear if there’d be repercussions to my blogging. So, I asked the chair of my department, “Do you all know that I blog?” and she said, “Of course, it’s so public, everybody knows.” She said that people like it and that it was part of what made me strong as a candidate. That is not what I’m used to. That just reinforced why Richmond is a good place for me. Outside of my institution I have heard good things. A lot of people seem to appreciate it and say, “Oh this is so inspiring, you’re so brave.” So it’s been good overall.

JS: Do you use social media in other ways as a sociologist (for example, in the classroom or at conferences)?

Dr. Grollman: I haven’t figured out how much I want to use it in the classroom and pedagogically. Right now if I want to share links with my students, I’ll show them the link at the start of class. It’s something I’ve been thinking about but I would prefer to do my homework first before I start using it. I do use Twitter to put out teaching questions like, “Hey, people who teach, what would you recommend for ___.” At conferences, sometimes I’ll “live tweet” with other people so others who are not in a session have a record of what was said. Also, using Twitter and other social media has created a nice academic network, even with people I wouldn’t normally connect with at conferences or in person. It has been good in that way, as far as using and sharing resources.

JS: Do you feel compelled to be “on” or professional with your twitter account at all times?

Dr. Grollman: I’ve been trying to figure out what the right balance is. I’ve been feeling too “out there.” I don’t censor myself too much; I post a hybrid of personal and professional on Twitter. It’s just me and what I would say (outside of class). Lately, I’ve been becoming unhappy because sometimes it opens me up to hostility as I become more visible. I’m not really ready to deal with that kind of hostility. We simply don’t have professional norms around how (and whether) to use social media, whether it “counts,” and what protections there are for those who use it.

JS: Some of the topics on your blog are pretty personal. How do you feel about self-disclosure as a sociologist?

Dr. Grollman: I think it’s underrated. My opinion is that our goal seems to be being “objective,” which we know doesn’t exist. In general we seem to discourage using the personal as a perspective, as a support for something. Pedagogically, you can’t ask a human to set aside their humanness to make sense of the social world. If we want to have a conversation about how racism shapes health, it’s unfair and nearly impossible to ask me to set aside my own experiences with racism and my health. (Keep in mind that this is not at the expense of existing research and theory.) Since we don’t put these stories out there, they’re not out there. I think there’s power in telling your personal experience, otherwise we just leave it invisible and pretend that it doesn’t happen. Blogging and Twitter are spaces where I can actually write about my personal experiences. It opens up these new spaces to have these conversations that are for public consumption. My intent is to provoke conversations about these sensitive issues. For example, writing publicly about my struggles with anxiety in graduate school, or experiencing racist hostility from other academics hopefully contributes to a chorus of voices that highlight how pervasive these problems really are.

JS: What advice do you have for graduate students or junior faculty with regards to social media?

Dr. Grollman: I have two bits of advice. The first is to think about the benefits and consequences of using social media. The benefits of it are being open and accessible, inspiring people, or speaking in ways that you can’t in journals or in the classroom. The consequences may be that since it is public, what we do outside of the classroom and in publications may trickle into our colleagues’ evaluations of our work. You have to be comfortable with what you put out there. There are some people who have been harassed, particularly women who blog or are on Twitter, when people don’t agree with what they’re saying. The second piece of advice is to take time to reflect on why you’re using social media. Because we haven’t crystalized its professional value, you have to be intentional and self-directed in deciding why you’re using it and what you want to come from it.

Academia Is A Warzone

Image Source: CBS News

Day after day, I return to work with the notion that academia is a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment for intellectual growth.  Like many people, I recognize the pattern that greater education, particularly college, is associated with liberal and tolerant attitudes.  Academic institutions, themselves, are characterized (for better or worse, depending on one’s perspective) as bastions of liberal ideals and practices, protected from the world “out there.”

I have been drinking the academic Kool-Aide since my freshman year of college, even once I realized it is spiked with a poison that could slowly kill me.

Academia Is A Warzone

Yes, the title of this post is intentionally provocative.  The language is a bit extreme considering that many readers will think of death, blood, bombs, landmines, war rape, propaganda, and other gruesome aspects of war.  I apologize, in advance, if the analogy is offensive.

But, I would also like to broaden our definition of war beyond the extreme, yet localized and ephemeral image that comes to mind.  In my opinion, to the extent that marginalized groups face systemic discrimination and violence from birth to death, justified by propaganda, these groups represent the severely outnumbered side of a war.  Considering the many ways in which institutional and interpersonal discrimination, poverty, and physical violence impact the health and well-being of marginalized groups, the death tolls of these wars are simply immeasurable.

Academia is not exempt from those wars.  Colleges have excluded women, people of color, and people with disabilities/disabled people throughout history.  Today, discrimination against these and other marginalized groups continues in the hiring and firing of staff, faculty, and administration; tenure and promotion; admissions; wages; and, other institutional practices.  These groups are subject to harassment and violence at the extreme, to subtle, but more routine microaggressions.

And, yes, there are examples that fit the more extreme imagery of war: racial harassment; sexual violence, including sexual harassment; homophobic murder and harassment; transphobic assault; xenophobic assault and anti-Semitic harassment. While these extreme acts seem isolated and rare, they act as hate crimes — reminding other members of these communities of their inferior status and to live in constant fear.  And, they occur along with less severe, but regularly occurring bias incidents: slurs, property damage, graffiti, verbal harassment, etc.

Image Source: Huffington Post

The Academic Fairytale Is Dangerous

Why has it taken over a decade for me to finally acknowledge academia is not a safe, inclusive, liberal place?  When staff in the scholarship program I was in during the first half of college grumbled when I brought up LGBT issues, I should have caught on.  Or, having “GAY” written on the whiteboard on my dorm door.  Or, seeing graffiti about “fags” in the Chemistry building men’s bathrooms.  Or, having several of the flyers my then-boyfriend and I put up to campaign for homecoming court vandalized with “fag” this, “pole-smoker” that.  I guess I knew homophobia would be a challenge — one I came prepared to fight.

With the first racist microaggression I faced in graduate school — even before classes had officially begun — I started to catch on.  But, six years later, now as a new tenure-track professor, I am finally declaring that enough is enough.  When my partner told me he felt helpless to support me day after day, as I come home fuming about some microaggression I have faced, I teared up — well, because he named it: “oppression.”  I know it, and regularly name it myself, but tend to stay just shy of fully acknowledging the reality of my experience as an oppressed person in academia, and the world in general.  My fear is accepting “oppressed” leaves little hope, little room for change.  But, the real danger is in denying how frequent and intense the hostility really is.

I study the health consequences of discrimination — so, I can tell you via research expertise (yeah, I’m saying “expert” — deal with it!) and personal experience that the hostility that marginalized students, staff, faculty, and administrators face is harmful.  In actual “wars” in the traditional sense, it would be foolish to try to reason with one’s opponents, who are armed and out for blood.  You protect yourself and fight back.  But, in buying into the fairytale that academia is safe, humane, and socially-just, we fail to arm and protect ourselves.  We repeatedly fail to psychologically prepare ourselves for battle, leaving us vulnerable to the full effect of every assault.  When attacked, we spend the rest of the day, week, month, semester, year… however long… trying to make sense of how that could happen here, how could they do that.  Unfortunately, this kind of rumination exacerbates the wear discrimination and violence has on our health and well-being.

Image Source: Center for American Progress

Prepare For Battle

I hope that even readers who scoff at the allusion to war recognize that academic institutions are — for some — toxic, hostile, unsafe, and exclusive places.  We do ourselves (particularly marginalized people) a disservice by thinking of acts of intolerance in academic spaces as isolated incidence, rather than manifestations of larger systems of oppression.  And, we fail to make efforts to prepare ourselves.

So, here are some suggestions:

  • Purge the idyllic, utopian vision of academia from your mind.  No place on earth is free from prejudice, discrimination, and violence.  Even if we disagree about how bad things are in academia, I ask that you at least acknowledge that there is room for improvement.
  • Acknowledge the high, pervasive levels of discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence within academic institutions.  Since it may be easy to discount the extreme stories that capture the media’s attention as isolated incidents, look for a source that keeps a record of these events — and then inflate the numbers, as these incidence are severely unreported (and mishandled).
  • Develop a plan-of-action to cope on a regular basis and for less frequent, but more extreme incidents.  I keep learning the hard way that I cannot go to events and meetings on campus as though I am privileged, freed from exposure to bias.  For new, unknown terrain, as well as spaces I already know to be hostile, I should 1) never go alone, nor sit alone, 2) have already established a team-effort to handle bias, and 3) have a prearranged time to debrief afterward.  This could prevent being blind-sided by offensive comments or actions, being shut-down and thus unable to speak up or out, and having the rest of my day emotionally derailed.  I should be meditating when I get home, but I at least try to journal to get toxic thoughts and emotions out so I can enjoy the evening with my partner.
  • Seek out allies, and not just in the predictable places.  I have found a great deal of support inside and outside of my department, including members of the university staff.  I have more in common in experience and values with people of color, queer people, and other social justice-oriented people than sociologists, or even academics in general.  Also, these outside perspectives can offer a new way of looking at a problem, or even entail “dirt” you would not get from insiders.  Here, I emphasize quantity (i.e., have at least a few allies in different places) and quality (i.e., meaningful connections with trusted friends and colleagues).
  • Consider ways to support others as they go to battle.  Check the academic fairytale in your colleagues and students.  I do not mean to force your perspective or to burst their bubbles; rather, do not let others deny or discount their own exposure to discrimination and harassment.  Affirm others’ experiences are real and unjust — at least to the extent that they have the right to feel what they feel without explanation.  If you can, offer other forms of support.
  • Teach marginalized students how to survive in academia.  A friend and colleague in student affairs has twice asked me what I am doing to teach my students survival skills.  Wow.  What a thought, right?  I still do not have an answer; my focus has been on affirming marginalized students’ existence and experiences, but never at the level of teaching survival skills.  As I develop syllabi for next semester, I will have to think about this, though it may take years to do so effectively.  By design, the content of college-level and graduate-level education barely reflects the lives and perspectives of oppressed people.  When reflected, we often get as far as highlighting that they are, indeed, oppressed, but fail to talk about how they are surviving, thriving, remaining resilient, and fighting back against oppressive structures.  So, this is an ideal, at best, for now.
  • If necessary, keep a personal record of acts of intolerance, particularly if there is a repeated source or perpetrator.  If things become severe enough that you have to seek justice or protection through some institution or external party (e.g., EEO, human resources, the police, Office for Civil Rights, an attorney), it may be useful to have a record.  And, you may need one or more witnesses to confirm your reports — maybe bring a colleague or friend along, or speak with someone else privately, hopefully to get them to start taking note in the future.
  • Consider speaking openly about your experiences.  This may help to affirm others’ experiences, and remind them that they are not alone in facing systemic, pervasive discrimination and harassment.  It lets potential allies know that these kinds of events do occur, hopefully, encouraging them to take note and act.  And, it can dismantle the cloak of silence; it can shift victims’ silent suffering to the public shaming of perpetrators of discrimination and violence.
  • Fight back.  At a minimum, be involved in your academic community to 1) be visible as a marginalized person, ensuring that your voice is heard and 2) create change.
  • Stay healthy and well, in general.  And, if a particular environment is too toxic to stay healthy and productive, you may need to seriously consider leaving, moving elsewhere, or taking temporary leave (if possible).  As I have said elsewhere, try to avoid going to places that are obviously toxic or hostile.  Unfortunately, self-care is a deeply political act for marginalized people within environments dead-set on destroying them.

What strategies have worked for you to survive in academia?

Earning My Stripes As An Intellectual Activist

via The Retriever Weekly (UMBC)

via The Retriever Weekly (UMBC)

Last night, I received an email from the Tennessee Anti-Racist Network thanking me for allowing the organization to use my blog post on a bystander intervention approach to anti-racism for their April 2013 conference theme.  This served as a counter-protest to a white supremacists rally:

American Renaissance (AmRen), a white supremacy group, plans to hold their annual racist conference at Montgomery Bell State Park Conference Center, near Dickson, Tennessee, April 5-7, 2013. 

[Download the post-conference recap here.]

This sounded like an important event, so of course I agreed to lend the idea as my way of supporting it.  Bystander intervention was developed as a community response (i.e., it is the community’s responsibility) to eliminate sexual violence.  At some point, other advocates have picked it up to fight other forms of bigotry and violence, including racism.  So, it certainly is not my original idea; but, I do take credit for my own perspective on it as laid out in my blog post, “A Call For Bystander Intervention To End Racism.”  At the time, I was finishing up my dissertation; so, the idea of having a blog post serve as an anti-racist conference’s theme was a welcome break from sitting alone in my apartment day in and day out (in the name of social science, of course!).

The email I received last night also included a request to continue using the theme of anti-racist bystander intervention for their upcoming counter-protest on October 12 in Murfreesboro, TN:

On October 12, League of the South, an extremist hate group will invade middle Tennessee and try to infect our home with false Southern Pride (aka white power).  They intend to demonstrate in Murfreesboro and Shelbyville.  We intend to get in their way.  They are already bullying and trying to intimidate Tennessee residents who are taking a stand against their racist group.  Don’t let these people invade OUR home and get away with this.

But, the organizer also gave me the heads up that they have faced some backlash — and, my name has come up:

From the Tennessee Anti Racist Network page:
“Be proactive. Do not be a bystander. Go to the Murfreesboro, TN, Anti Racist counter rally on October 12, and tell League of the South To Stop The Hate.  Information on this page adapted and taken from Eric Grollman at https://egrollman.com/?s=bystander+intervention

Eric Grollman is a professional Black homosexual feminist (his articles on those interests are on his website). He says he is a scholar whose “research centers on medical sociology and social psychology to investigate race, ethnicity, gender, social class, and sexualities, and the intersections among them.” He “examines the social factors that produce and maintain disparities in mental, physical, and sexual health” and “investigate(s) the effects prejudice and discrimination on marginalized groups’ health and well-being.” With meager credentials, these special interests must have been what got him a spot as Asst. Professor at the University of Richmond.

So, I suppose I am now on the white supremacists’ shit list.  I tweeted about this, and shared it on Facebook, receiving mostly praise (“you’ve arrived!” as indicated by making enemies, especially of the bigot variety).  A few folks expressed some concern: notify my university just to err on the side of caution for my safety (done); make sure I am taking care of myself internally to weather any more that may come of this (a work in progress).

The funny thing is, I just wrote a post yesterday on “playing it safe,” and that I am still doing other things that appear anything but safe and traditional.  I have been calling for greater intellectual activism — in my case, blogging — and, I suppose pissing off racist bigots counts for something.  This is at least a reminder to be careful what you wish for!

Now, back to being a good first-year professor with “meager credentials.”  I should know being a “professional Black homosexual feminist” will not guarantee job security.