Not Just a Diversity Number
There are days I feel like I have an invisible number, a percentage, following me around everywhere I go. It’s kind of like that commercial about depression, where this gray balloon follows a woman everywhere she goes … and then that gray balloon turns into a ball and chain and weighs her down and literally sinks her into the ground.
So what’s the number following me around? It’s the diversity statistic on my campus. The percentage of faculty at my institution who are faculty of color (we say “diversity,” but then when it comes to counting, we seem to be only keeping track of the color of our skin). I am one of “them,” you see, and there are days when I wonder if when I was hired a little meter turned in the provost’s mind (like a calendar flipping to the next date) with a little ca-ching sound that signaled I was the nth faculty of color at my institution. Maybe all faculty of color everywhere have a special number, a percentage that they are known by in administrative circles: There goes the one who put us in double digits, here’s the 20th-percenter and so on.