Your Race, Your Pace by Felicia Harris

March 27, 2015

“… And no offense, Felicia, but you can tell they were mostly first-generation!”

My friend hurled those words out, mid-rant, on the ride home from a very poorly planned fund raiser. We had purchased tickets in support of a scholarship fund for high-school seniors who had “overcome life-changing obstacles to achieve academic success.” As doctoral students who had done just that, we were looking forward to networking with other young professionals on behalf of a good cause near and dear to our hearts. Unfortunately, the event turned out to be nothing more than a college party. How that failure led to a correlation with first-generation students, I have somewhat of an idea.

At the time, I had just written about the need to address racism and microaggressions, and was still reeling from accusations of hypersensitivity directed to me via the comments and emails. I didn’t have the energy to speak up on behalf of yet another subculture of academia that is often made to feel as though we don’t understand the rules of engagement required of the academic elite. Heaven forfend a group of first-generation students hold a fund raiser without live jazz, a seafood entrée, and numbered tables. Continue reading on Chronicle Vitae. Photo by Steve Fair.

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