A Long Way to Go: Conversations about Race by African American Faculty and Graduate Students

By Darrell Cleveland | Go to book overview

16

BLACK FACULTY COPING WITH RACIAL
BATTLE FATIGUE: THE CAMPUS RACIAL
CLIMATE IN A POST—CIVIL RIGHTS ERA

William A. Smith


Introduction

If you can think of the mind as having 100 ergs of energy, and the average man uses
50 percent of this energy dealing with the everyday problems of the world—just
general kinds of things—then he has 50 percent more to do creative kinds of things
that he wants to do. Now, that's a White person. Now, a Black person also has 100
ergs. He uses 50 percent the same way a white man does, dealing with what the white
man has [to deal with], so he has 50 percent left. But he uses 25 percent fighting
being Black, [with] all the problems being Black and what it means.

SENIOR BLACK MALE PROFESSOR

African Americans spend countless amounts of energy, personal and familial, dealing with White racism and patterns of institutionalized racism (Clark, Anderson, Clark, & Williams, 1999). Unfortunately, we still hear reports of African Americans being the first Black to be hired to certain jobs, the first to earn a particular degree from an academic program, the first to play for a specific professional sports team, the first to be hired as a coach at a predominantly white school, or the first to own a National Basketball Association franchise (Spears, 2003). Therefore, America is still replete with White spaces to which African Americans have historically been denied access. Even in places where there has been a history of employing

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