Partial Stories, Improbable Conversations
Edited By Kevin K. Kumashiro and Bic Ngo
Part Five: Complicating Race and Racism in Theory and Practice
Complicating Race and Racism in Theory and Practice p a r t f i v e c h a p t e r n i n e In 1849, the abolitionist orator Frederick Douglass wrote: If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet de- preciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will. (Douglass, 1991, p. vii) Over 150 years later, Douglass’s potent statement and call to action continues to hold true. The struggle against dominance fascinates me. I have always been drawn to those who resist oppression and demonstrate agency—today and in history. Opti- mally, institutions of higher education should be spaces of access and opportunity, the opening of minds, the broadening of perspectives, and the acquisition of valuable skills. Serving as Associate Dean for Institutional Diversity on my campus, I aim to shift institutional culture and climate while empowering students with the critical framework and skill sets to shape their own destinies and, I hope, challenge the dom- inant system. Throughout the history of higher education, however, universities have also been spaces of exclusion, dominance, and...
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