A Letter to the Faculty and Staff of White Serving Institutions
WORDS: PRISCA DORCAS MOJICA RODRIGUEZ | ART: FAYE ORLOVE
Traveling to all these white serving institutions, to speak power to people of color, means that I should have a serious and critical response based on these experiences.
For every Latina who has hugged me through tears because my story made you feel less alone and less hurt, I am sorry. I am sorry that these institutions have done nothing but invite token people of color, as if to say: “we do enough.” I am sorry that these institutions have made it their mission to appear progressive and inviting and diverse, only to actually make you and your brown friends feel like tokens and less like people.
To White Serving Institutions:If you all weren’t so concerned with your job security and actually doing your job then maybe your retention rate of students of color wouldn’t be so low. If you all weren’t so concerned with your job security and actually doing your job then maybe you wouldn’t need to invite someone like me to help name the violence done by these institutions to their students of color. If you all weren’t so concerned with your job security and actually doing your job then maybe more Latinx students would want to pursue more degrees in higher education, instead of being the least represented group in higher education and Ph.D. programs.
If you all weren’t so concerned with your job security and actually doing your job then maybe we’d stop being hurt and move onto change.Student-led change is not liberation. You are paid to watch out for the interests of your students and to care for these students who come into your schools, or so you say when you create these diversity and inclusion programs, SO DO THE WORK. Be online; submerge yourself into the various cultures of your various students of color. HIRE PEOPLE OF COLOR IN HIGH POSITIONS. QUIT your cushy job when you realize that you’re incompetent and unwilling to try. DO SOMETHING, DO MORE, DO BETTER than what you’re doing.
I have been to one too many schools that have students who are barely holding on, barely keeping it together, barely surviving and I think it is about damn time that you do something about it.DO MORE. We can see when you’re feeding us crumbs because we are still starving. We can see when you’re doing the bare minimum because we are still hurting. I have held one too many students in my arms, hugged them, cried with them, and thought, “why don’t they care enough!? “ I think essentially it is because maybe our pain is not considered real pain because our humanity is not considered an essential humanity. Maybe you do not even see us as humans, and history proves that to us. Maybe that is the problem. Those with hiring power forget that white people are racist by virtue of being complicit to systems of oppression. We keep pretending that an education in a prestigious institution cleanses racism; so they are hired into notable positions where their racism comes out through their pores and they do not even know it. That is the problem. So when I say do better it is because there is a stopwatch and time is about to run out; our cup is about to overflow from our tears and our pain, and we will no longer sit here and take it.