“The discrimination has done “long-term” damage to her career and left her “humiliated,” reports The New York Post.
The widely read New York City paper detailed Dr. Hayes’ discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against The New School. The legal action also targets as individuals some of the highest ranking officials at the university including: President David Van Zandt, Labor Relations VP Keila Tennent-DeCouteau, Provost Tim Marshall, Deputy Provost Bryna Sanger, and Executive Dean Mary Watson. Hayes, producer and director of the award-winning documentary Black and Cuba, is African American and openly lesbian.
“The New School only hired her as a token of diversity to stem complaints about its mostly white staff,” the article states.
Many of us women, people of color, and members of the LGBT+ community dread these first few days of the new year. The prospect of returning to campuses, nonprofits or companies where we are isolated, harassed, and blocked from success can be disheartening. In my own life, discrimination fanned the flames of doubt and shame I internalized through living in a society where I rarely saw anyone who looked like me-or loved like me-enjoy professional success.
If you’re steeling yourself against microaggressions, mansplaining, or other inappropriate discriminatory behavior, remember two things.
1. It’s Not You.
Discrimination is not something you can prevent with professional excellence, code switching expertise, or fitting into racial or gendered norms of behavior. It is driven solely by perpetrators’ allegiance to White supremacist, sexist and/or homophobic beliefs. (Whether that allegiance is subconscious is not your concern). Discrimination is illegal precisely because it has nothing to do with your actions.
2. You Are Not Alone.
Chances are you are not the only person at your campus or organization that desires a more inclusive atmosphere. To the extent that your feedback is solicited or you have decision-making authority about diversity-related programs, suggesting more trainings and cultural events might jumpstart the constructive conversations about equality and inclusion your organization needs.
I am hopeful for progress. The more we speak up, the swifter change will come. Happy New Year.
The pioneering LGBT magazine The Advocate called 9 GRAMS “heartfelt and often humorous” in a glowing review of the play that appears in both its print and online publications. Writer David Artavia explains playwright Maisha Yearwood “has written a brutally honest and poignant one-woman play…putting on full display the ugly truth of what it means to be a targeted Black lesbian American traveling and living abroad.” Peep the full review here.
Go to 9GRAMS.com more information about the next performance of 9 GRAMS.
Progressive Pupil announces its programming line up for the 2017-2018 academic year. With the award-winning documentary Black and Cuba, prize-winning one-woman show 9 GRAMS (recently featured in The Advocate) and always thought provoking workshop Coping With Microaggressions; our programs contribute to learning at universities, nonprofits and corporations throughout the US and abroad.
Prize-winning novelist and native Virgin Islander Tiphanie Yanique skewered the Trump Administration for turning its back on the US Virgin Islands in their time of need in a New York Times op-ed this week. The Islands-St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix-are grappling with extensive damage created by Hurricane Irma. “Today Virgin Islanders are led by a president who makes clear delineations between ‘real’ Americans and all the rest,” writes Yanique.
Yanique’s forthcoming television series, Fortune Bay, reflects on how the people of Virgin Islands and other Americans who are deemed less “real” struggle to achieve their aspirations and overcome obstacles. The show is based on Yanique’s prize-winning novel, Land of Love and Drowning. It is featured as part of the Independent Film Project’s 2017 No Borders Production Marketplace.
Today, the New York Times reported in an astonishing video on racist, islamophobic, homophobic and misogynist statements emboldened by the Orange one at his campaign rallies. One attendee remarks, “this is the last chance…to preserve the culture I grew up in.” Please share with a friend who is considering not voting this election year.
Haitian American musician Wyclef Jean with Haiti’s flag
During the Caribbean Studies Association 2016 conference I met a number of brilliant young Haitian-Americans, including a 20-something Cornell PhD candidate whose project focuses on Black feminist political theory in contemporary novels by Caribbean authors. Her mother emigrated from Haiti before she was born and left the country permanently in the early aughts. I had to admit to her my ignorance of the precise details of Haitian history that motivated her mom to leave Haiti.