By Elwood Watson
This number of essays written through seventeen iteration X lecturers passionately, provocatively, and eloquently demonstrates the non-public matters, conflicts, and triumphs which are definitive of this new release. those essays outline the voice of a frequently forgotten and neglected demographic.
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Additional resources for Overcoming Adversity in Academia: Stories from Generation X Faculty
I struggle with the idea of speaking in a manner representative of “my” generation, but I do feel my voice ought to be part of the choir. I dare not speak of my generation, but only of my own lived experiences and viewpoints as I reflect upon the path that is brought me to be a scholar, to be part of academia, and to constantly question the validity of academia and my role therein. LAYING THE FOUNDATION My parents were most definitely not flower-children. Born in the 1940s and 50s, raised in rural working class families, they were taught to see the world in often gendered, conservative manners, despite clear liberal underpinnings in both family backgrounds.
Nigger was not used again. And my face slowly cooled off. Later in my career, these students were deeply disturbed during the department’s search for an African Americanist. Desperately wanting to hire the white male candidate over the black female candidate, they expressed frustration that the black female candidate would receive the job despite their feeling that the white candidate interviewed significantly better. I disagreed and although I thought the white candidate had done well, I thought the candidates were equally qualified.
Of course, the Bakke decision situated college campuses as a site through which the larger pushback by white supremacist hegemony took place. In pursuing an anti-racist agenda, the conservative turn that Bakke signaled has frequently meant that GenXers have had to confront an increasingly skeptical mainstream community that sees the issues of diversity and multiculturalism as a way to reduce the impact of, if not to outright silence, African-American voices. By defining the terms of multiculturalism while simultaneously attempting to maintain the traditions that are intimately tied to a legacy of white supremacy that, nonetheless, remains important to the nostalgia of alumni, PWCUs allowed for the admission — at times even the aggressive recruitment of — African-American students and faculty without changing the structural conditions that often perpetuated or benefited from the absence of minorities.