"Unsettling Relations": Racism and Sexism Experienced by Faculty of Color in a Predominantly White Canadian University

By Samuel, Edith; Wane, Njoki | The Journal of Negro Education, Winter 2005 | Go to article overview

"Unsettling Relations": Racism and Sexism Experienced by Faculty of Color in a Predominantly White Canadian University


Samuel, Edith, Wane, Njoki, The Journal of Negro Education


This article is a qualitative investigation of the experiences of nine women of color in a predominantly White Canadian university. Although the sample size is small, this study underscores racism and sexism pervading in some contexts, situations, and relationships for women of color in academe. Minority instructors perceive racism as infusing most aspects of academic life such as curriculum design, evaluations, administrative support, and mainstream student reactions. This analytical inquiry recommends a revamping of curriculum design and evaluation criteria, an implementation of ongoing anti-racism training for mainstream faculty, and most importantly, hiring a "critical mass" of women of color to "unsettle relations" and create a more congenial, affable, supportive and equitable academic environment.

INTRODUCTION

A revolutionary study on the hiring of "visible minorities" defined by the Federal Contractors Program as " persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-White in color" (Guide to Equity Resources at Queens, 2004), at Canadian universities made headlines in The Toronto Star, a leading newspaper of Canada. In the article, Dr. Chandrakant Shah, an awardwinning professor, who has taught in the University of Toronto since 1972, professes that, hypothetically, it would take more than 25 years before visible minorities represent a critical mass of even 15 percent of professors (Rushowy, 2000). According to Shah, "critical mass is understood to refer to reducing the potential for minority colleagues to feel isolated and marginalized" (Rushowy, 2000, p. 3). The figures that Shah used were not based on a quota system. Instead, he used a mathematical model of probability that assumed the university fills an average of 15 percent of all job openings with a visible minority candidate, that is, in a faculty population of 1,710 and an annual rate of new hires of 5 percent (or 85 job openings). Shah's findings revealed the dearth of faculty positions held by members of so-called visible minorities-a selected group under the Federal Contractors' Program-a program that mandates the hiring of four target groups of women, visible minorities, the disabled, and people with different sexual orientation.

Importantly, women of color are underrepresented in Canadian academe (Henry & Tator, 2005). Furthermore, it has been pointed out that women of color hold 18.7 percent of doctoral degrees in Canada, and yet, constitute an average of only 10.3 percent of faculty positions nationwide (Kobayashi, 2002). A similar trend is prevalent in American universities. Trower and Chait (2002) write in the Harvard Magazine that, "despite 30 years of affirmative action, and contrary to public perceptions, the American faculty profile, especially at preeminent universities, remains largely White and largely male" (p. 33). According to Trower & Chait (2002), this bleak picture indicates:

* 94 percent of full professors in science and engineering are White; 90 percent are male.

* 91 percent of the full professors at research universities are White; 75 percent are male.

* 87 percent of the full-time faculty members in the United States are White; 64 percent are male.

* Only 5 percent of the full professors in the U.S. are Black, Hispanic or Native American.

* The gap between the percentage of tenured men and the percentage of tenured women has not changed in 30 years.

This alarming state of affairs illustrates that women of color are underrepresented in most predominantly White, North American universities. Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that women of color (Black, Native Canadian, and Asian or "visible minority faculty") experience sexism and racism in academic environments. Racism and sexism "are two systems of oppression and inequality based on the ideology of the superiority of one race and/or gender over others" (Ng, 1994, p. 41). This article explores the experiences of women of color in a predominantly small-town White Canadian university, with an overriding White population, and it investigates the manner in which this trend can be addressed. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

"Unsettling Relations": Racism and Sexism Experienced by Faculty of Color in a Predominantly White Canadian University
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.