How To Support Blacademics

Ellie Ade Kur’s advice for “Non-Black Faculty and Grad Students Teaching Black Faces in White Spaces”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

There is no academic or teacher alive who couldn’t stand to listen to and learn from a young Black teacher, so today I’m directing you to a remarkable Facebook post by University of Toronto PhD student Ellie Ade Kur (@wannabeacademic on Twitter).

Ade Kur’s advice is practical, wise, and you should read it before you teach another class. She insists that academics support employees and staff with the same strength that we support colleagues; that we make space—literally, that we step aside—for Black voices; that we remember, always, that “Vulnerable students are the first to go.”

Because something is going badly wrong in white pedagogy. Says Ade Kur:

I don’t have all of the answers, but I do have emails from dozens of Black students looking for advice from Black teaching assistants and lecturers on what to do about anti-Black racism in classes, tutorials and office hours: professors and teaching assistants screening violent content, leaning on racist tropes, ignoring anti-Black comments, or singling out Black students to address problematic comments/opinions in the room. And when students are so upset they go through department listservs looking for Black teaching assistants and lecturers to reach out to for help, we need to talk.

Yeah, we do. So, read it, pass it on, and remember: “There is no such thing as apolitical or objective social inquiry.”

Josephine Livingstone is an academic and writer in New York.