White supremacy and individualism

I was struck by the inclusion of individualism as part of the white supremacy culture chart as it’s so central to the workings of academia. Students are evaluated individually in each course they take after being admitted as individuals and before graduating as individuals. Faculty are hired individually (except for cluster hires which I would be very happy to discuss) and tenured individually. The most prized research in many disciplines is that supposedly conducted alone. In other words, to succeed, one (depending on who they’re in community with) must disavow that community in order to succeed. Additionally, it makes it easy for institutions to push out and punish individuals (particularly those marginalized in the academy). This brings me to a question that was asked at a student protest for Black Lives over the summer at Brooklyn College: what would a Black life affirming university look like? What would it feel like? How would relationships and community be present in such an institution?

1 thought on “White supremacy and individualism

  1. Samantha Lilienfeld

    Definitely want to surface these questions during class today, thank you for sharing! This reminds me of something Gilmore said in another part of the assigned video, that abolition is not something one can do on their own, or add to their individual to-do list. White supremacy culture’s imposition of individuality is in direct conflict with the necessity of collectivity in an abolition politic.

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