Racial Battle Fatigue in Faculty
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Racial Battle Fatigue in Faculty

Perspectives and Lessons from Higher Education

Nicholas D. Hartlep, Daisy Ball, Nicholas D. Hartlep, Daisy Ball

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Racial Battle Fatigue in Faculty

Perspectives and Lessons from Higher Education

Nicholas D. Hartlep, Daisy Ball, Nicholas D. Hartlep, Daisy Ball

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About This Book

Racial Battle Fatigue in Faculty examines the challenges faced by diverse faculty members in colleges and universities. Highlighting the experiences of faculty of color—including African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, and Indigenous populations—in higher education across a range of institutional types, chapter authors employ an autoethnographic approach to the telling of their stories. Chapters illustrate on-the-ground experiences, elucidating the struggles and triumphs of faculty of color as they navigate the historically White setting of higher education, and provide actionable strategies to help faculty and administrators combat these issues. This book gives voice to faculty struggles and arms graduate students, faculty, and administrators committed to diversity in higher education with the specific tools needed to reduce Racial Battle Fatigue (RBF) and make lasting and impactful change.

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Publisher
Routledge
Year
2019
ISBN
9780429620515
Edition
1

Chapter 1

The Battle of Racial Battle Fatigue

Nicholas D. Hartlep and Daisy Ball
Racial Battle Fatigue (RBF) has been defined by William A. Smith (2008) as encompassing “physiological, psychological, and behavioral strain exacted on racially marginalized and stigmatized groups and the amount of energy they expend coping with and fighting against racism” (p. 617). As Smith (2008) notes, as college and university campuses have been historically White-dominated, academic settings are not immune to this phenomenon. Much of the RBF scholarship has focused on “faculty members’” experiences, while not considering how faculty members’ experiences are shaped by their institutional context. Higher education takes place in many different contexts, not all of which are Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs).
Racial Battle Fatigue in Faculty: Perspectives and Lessons from Higher Education examines faculty of color’s experiences in higher education, but does so in three salient ways that are different from previously published books:
  1. 1. It takes into consideration faculty who work at different institutional types, including community colleges, teaching-focused colleges and universities, and research universities. Institutions also vary in terms of the populations they serve, including PWIs, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs).
  2. 2. It shares the experiences of tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure-track faculty members’ experiences, including faculty who occupy “diversity” focused fellowship positions.
  3. 3. It explores faculty from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, including Criminology, Geology, Education, English/Communication Studies, and Sociology.
We are honored to be the first edited collection to appear in Dr. Fred Bonner’s new series Diverse Faculty in the Academy. We organized Racial Battle Fatigue in Faculty along the lines of racial/ethnic/tribal political identification of chapter contributors, thereby allowing the reader to make in-group comparisons, although we acknowledge these groups are not monolithic. We are honored that Professor William A. Smith, the RBF pioneer, has written the book’s foreword. Dr. Noelle Arnold penned the afterword, for which we are equally grateful. As an Associate Dean of Diversity at The Ohio State University, an R1 and PWI, her perspective is highly relevant for readers of this book.

Who Is the Audience?

We edited this book for a higher education audience, including graduate students and faculty in Education, Sociology, Psychology, African American Studies, Latinx Studies, Asian American Studies, and Native American Studies. We hope the book piques the interest of graduate students and junior faculty of color. We believe those who lead departments, colleges, and universities will also find value in the book. We hope that the recommendations that contributors share are not only read, but that they are adopted and practiced on higher education campuses nationwide.
As higher education is in an ongoing pursuit to diversify its faculties (Watson, 2019), this book illustrates the struggles faced by the faculty members who represent that diversity. This book puts a human face and voice to positions held by faculty of color and Native Americans. Oftentimes, colleges and universities create diversity initiatives (including creating special positions specifically for faculty of color) without thinking through the “on-the-ground” experiences of minority faculty in higher education. Our intention is for this book to elucidate the struggles, survivance, and triumphs of faculty of color and Native Americans as they navigate Historically White Colleges and Universities (HWCUs) or Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs), Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), as well as other institutional types, such as community colleges, teaching-focused colleges and universities, and research universities.

This Book …

How do an Asian American (Korean transracial adoptee) male professor of urban education and a White female professor of criminal justice come together to edit a book on Racial Battle Fatigue (RBF)? The short answer is that Racial Battle Fatigue in Faculty: Perspectives and Lessons from Higher Education is an example of continued editorial partnership. We have edited books together before on topics of mutual interest. For instance, in 2016 we collaborated on Asian/Americans, Education, and Crime: The Model Minority as Victim and Perpetrator and in 2018 we collaborated and coedited Asian/American Scholars of Education: 21st Century Pedagogies, Perspectives, and Experiences. While initially thinking about a book on RBF, Nicholas wanted to edit a book entirely devoted to Asian American experiences of RBF; however, upon further reflection and advice from Routledge’s editorial team, the foci and scope changed from being only a book on Asian Americans to one that included a broader population. This book is more inclusive in terms of the ethnic and racial groups it encompasses, including the racialized and politicized experiences of African Americans, Latinx, Native Americans, and other marginalized people, such non-tenured or non-tenure-track academics. The chapter authors include academics who do not work at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) or research-intensive (R1) institutions, which we believe is important. Faculty who work at these institutions have many of the same qualifications and expertise that faculty who work at R1s have: They are Ph.D.-trained, conduct research, and teach (under)graduate curricula. The context of their work is that their institutions are different. The outcome of these revisions is a book that will appeal to a broader audience than what was originally brainstormed, and will hopefully reach the desks and nightstands of higher education leaders at a range of institutions.

How to Read this Introduction and the Book

In this introduction to the book the editors share their own stories regarding RBF on their campuses. Nicholas shares his story first, followed by Daisy. We conclude the introduction by sharing our thoughts regarding the salient themes that emerged from reading, editing, and revising chapters contained in this book. We share a framework of those distillations and interactions and conclude with recommendations for higher education administrators and leaders to reduce RBF. We hope the readers of the book (who are also leaders at their institution of higher education) implement many of the suggestions that are made for policy and practice. The stories contained in the chapters are the heart of the book, and they serve as reminders that RBF is pervasive not only at those Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) whose primary foci are research, but also at PWI teaching-intensive colleges and universities, Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), and community colleges. Moreover, RBF impacts not only tenured and tenure-track professors, but it also impacts graduate students and non-tenured but tenure-track faculty and contingent faculty or those who hold fellow positions. RBF also impacts more than people of color, but also Native Americans.

Nicholas: Experiencing White Spaces in a Minority-Serving Institution

I have a story to tell you. I work at a Minority-Serving Institution (MSI), where I served as a convener for our faculty union. The union, as I perceive it, is a White space. The union president is a White man, and many of the unit conveners are White too. The union secretary is also White. One day, during the spring semester of 2019, during my second year serving as my unit’s convener, I was publicly recalled from being convener. The recall occurred unannounced. The union president and union secretary attended my unit’s scheduled meeting. Their presence was unannounced to me, although based on their interactions with my colleagues, it is possible that some in the room that day knew or were at least prepared for what was about to transpire. If they alerted my colleagues of the recall privately, but not me, it made me extremely unprepared emotionally for what was going to happen.
The reason for the recall, as they told me that day, was that I was thought to have advocated breaking the union contract. Not sure what that meant, I asked them specifically what I had advocated for. They replied, “You requested a faculty member to revise her dossier for which she was going up for tenure and promotion.” This is true, I did, but it was part of the process and my role as the Department Chair. I encouraged a faculty member to revise her dossier in order to strengthen it and so it reflected the documents she had added after I had reviewed her initial submission. I am not sure if my request was a microaggression. It may have been. But how was encouraging or requesting someone revise his/her dossier breaking the union contract? As of writing this introduction, I have gained no explanation. Nevertheless, I did not see a basis for their public recall, which was humiliating, and from my perspective, passive-aggressive. Once the vote was tallied, they left. I was recalled and a replacement was found. Who was my replacement? A faculty member who was known to be a bully in the department, and about whom people talked behind closed doors frequently.

Unions and the Bullying of People of Color

Research by Hollis (2016)
(pp. 83–84)
First, let me say that I am very much pro-union. As a millennial (35 years old at the time of writing this introduction), I am quite aware of the epiphenomenon of unions: Unions not only help their members, but their positive effects spillover and positively impact communities. According to Draut (2005), in her book Strapped: Why America’s 20- and 30-somethings cannot get ahead, “Young adults understand the benefit a union could have on their pocketbooks. Over half of nonunionized workers under 34 say they would join a union tomorrow if given the chance” (pp. 20–21). Indeed, as a millennial I understand the importance unions play.
I will state again, so readers are clear, I am pro-union. Research confirms the many benefits of unions, not only for workers’ rights, but also the surrounding communities. Unions help all workers (Mishel & Walters, 2003). However, if a union is an institution, can it express institutional racism? I believe it can. I have another story to tell.
In my eyes, the union president and secretary’s unannounced visitation to our union meeting was an example of workplace bullying. My interpretation is as follows: Although I carried out the duties required of me as my unit’s union convener, I believe that the union’s senior leadership thought I was dangerous because I was not a sycophant to the union. Ironically, earlier in the year, the union requested that I defend another faculty of color who was being investigated for workplace bullying. For anonymity, I cannot share more details. By refusing to speak to and cooperate with the union, I was being deliberate and direct. The union was protecting this professor of color who was a bully. Why would I want to help the union defend this professor? I didn’t. He personally bullied me from the first day I arrived at Metropolitan State University.
When the union requested I speak with them I emailed my Dean, Chief Diversity Officer, and also the union leadership about my experience with this professor. I informed the union leadership and grievance officer that I would not attend their invited meeting and had no desire to talk about my experiences being bullied by this professor. My unwillingness to speak to them was my way of saying that this professor had a long track record of bullying that should have been addressed years ago.
The truth of the matter, I could ...

Table of contents

Citation styles for Racial Battle Fatigue in Faculty
APA 6 Citation
[author missing]. (2019). Racial Battle Fatigue in Faculty (1st ed.). Taylor and Francis. Retrieved from https://www.perlego.com/book/1605604/racial-battle-fatigue-in-faculty-perspectives-and-lessons-from-higher-education-pdf (Original work published 2019)
Chicago Citation
[author missing]. (2019) 2019. Racial Battle Fatigue in Faculty. 1st ed. Taylor and Francis. https://www.perlego.com/book/1605604/racial-battle-fatigue-in-faculty-perspectives-and-lessons-from-higher-education-pdf.
Harvard Citation
[author missing] (2019) Racial Battle Fatigue in Faculty. 1st edn. Taylor and Francis. Available at: https://www.perlego.com/book/1605604/racial-battle-fatigue-in-faculty-perspectives-and-lessons-from-higher-education-pdf (Accessed: 14 October 2022).
MLA 7 Citation
[author missing]. Racial Battle Fatigue in Faculty. 1st ed. Taylor and Francis, 2019. Web. 14 Oct. 2022.