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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Here is the racial breakdown of population for the State of Kansas and the US

White alone, 86.8% 77.4%
Black or African American alone, 6.3% 13.2%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone, 1.2% 1.2%
Asian alone, 2.8% 5.4%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, 0.2%
Two or More Races, 2.8% 2.5%
Hispanic or Latino, 11.4% 17.4%
White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, 76.8% 62.1%

Now let's look at the faculty at my institution;

White: 76.6%
Black: 3%
Hispanic: 3.1%
Asian: 11.4%
American Indian 0.4%
Two or more: 1.2%
Unknown 0.3%
Non-resident 4.9%

Every group is either over- or under-represented here. We'd need more than four times more "Black alone" to reach a nationally representative proportion (and more than twice to be proportional to the state of Kansas.) We are even worse for "Hispanic or Latino." Asians are represented at double the national rate (and that does not include the non-resident Asians). "White alone" non Spanish speaking are represented proportionally to the state of Kansas, but are over-represented in national terms. Ironically, the number of white professors is the most proportionate to the level of the population. we have about 1,500 where we really should have 1,240.

Of course, the full time faculty here number 2,066, so one percent is only about twenty people. The source I'm using is the CHE, and it counts total minority here at 22.5%. In my own department we come from six nations / ethnicities: Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, US, Spain, Netherlands, Dominican Republic...

So the hardest area for "diversity" is recruiting more under-representated minorities: Latinos, African Americans, and "American Indian and Alaska Native alone." For this you'd have to have more PhD among these groups, and a better distribution of PhDs across multiple fields.

Anyone who is even full time faculty at a flagship university like this one is already part of an elite group: the fewer than 2% of the population with PhD (or an equivalent level of education / accomplishment) who beat out 10-200 other people with that level of education. I hesitate to recruit new people into a dying profession, but really we are the fortunate few.

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