I work at a lovely Rocky Mountain-region college, with a group of friendly, ski-happy, collegial academics. We get along, for the most part, famously.
I'm in the social sciences, and for reasons unknown to me, we share parts of two floors with a number of business profs. Both departments are pretty young; we hang out a good deal in two nice lounges. Hardly a cross word gets passed.
But in the past months, the Obama birther controversy has caused numerous testy conversations in our hallways. It is beyond me how anyone can not see the birther movement as racist at its heart. I'm an African-American, but young enough that most of my horror stories are about my parents and grand parents. I've mostly felt at home in college, grad school, and in two tenure track jobs.
But I sat in a room of profs this afternoon where a number of folks shared their concerns about Obama's recently released long form birth certificate. Surely it had to be a fake, and a bad one at that. They parroted some of Donald Trump's recent quotes, including the one about how Obama should get off the basketball court and get back to running the country, and I kept thinking. "Y'all want to call him a nigger, am I right?"
I sort of hate myself for feeling this way. I'm not so invested in who the president is or what color he is that it overshadows the day to day of my life in this lovely spot. But I left campus wanting to pack my stuff and move along somewhere more tolerant - and I don't even know where that would be.
That's a rather specific genesis for a much more general question.
Q: Do you see racism exhibited among your colleagues? Is it overt? Does it overshadow otherwise collegial relationships?
- Ted from Telluride