Professor Jacqueline Hidalgo wrote (in March 2009):

I write this editorial not solely out of concern that Beck and other Euro-Americans think that Obama’s election means we can stop talking about race. I also fear that those of us who hail from minoritized backgrounds have internalized racism 2.0. Many of us need to query the privileges we have had in life, but we also need to examine the ways we have internalized negative stereotypes about ourselves from dominant culture. I, for one, continue to perceive myself through the Dubois’ double-consciousness, ever concerned about my measurements according to others’ tape, feeling my plural identities ever unreconciled. This internalized racism also means that I never learned to feel, truly, that such double-consciousness is my strength and not my shame. Following some arguments in John L. Jackson’s recent book, Racial Paranoia: The Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness, I have been unwilling to own my paranoia around matters of race in personal and public life as justified. While confronting new and complex racial realities, realities that cannot be adequately addressed through pre-civil-rights-era terminology, I, too often, fear that I misread and over-react. At the same time, in these trying economic times, I wonder if I can actually get a job given my “strangeness,” my ethnic and other non-ethnically specific behavioral deviations from established cultural norms. And the big question, if I do get a job, is it because of my skill set and unique abilities, or is it simply because my last name helped an institution fill a quota?

That those of us from historically dominated groups still must wrestle with racism 2.0, especially around the question of affirmative action, was made apparent to me in the weeks following Obama’s election.

Do you think that Hidalgo’s last name helped Williams fulfill a quota?

Or is she the only one who is allowed to ask that question?

Print  •  Email