Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 38

work with my personal life," and the
constant expectations "to make small
talk and share what I do outside of work
is frustrating and taxing. If I wanted
staff to be aware of those activities,
they would most likely be invited to
participate." Many professionals of
color have experienced the inability
to be in community with one another
at work without attention being on
them, white colleagues or supervisors
inviting themselves into that space, or
being told by superiors to disperse due
to white colleagues feeling excluded.
As Beverly Daniel Tatum explains
in her book about the psychology of
racism, "Particularly in work settings,
where people of color are isolated and
often in the extreme minority, the
opportunities to connect with peers
of color are few and far between.
White people are often unaware of
how stressful such a situation can
be." And, as she emphasizes, these
moments of connection are essential
for psychological survival.
As Lipsitz explains in his book,
"whiteness never has to speak its
name, never has to acknowledge its
role as an organizing principle in
social and cultural relations." These
relationship expectations are often
embedded in feedback provided to
professionals of color to proactively
set a tone for how they need to
navigate within the department and in
response to white fragility when they
do not adhere to these already existing
norms. As one professional of color
noted, "I have often heard 'you need
to be more relational' as reasoning for
why peers or supervisees and I have
conflict." The expectation to conform
to already existing cultural norms
strips professionals of color of their
authenticity to show up in ways that
are true to them and of the autonomy
to govern for themselves what their
relationships look like with colleagues,
supervisees, and supervisors. As
reflected in the experiences described,
these underlying relationship
expectations rooted in whiteness serve

38

TALKING STICK

as a means to control and marginalize
people of color.

TOKENISM
Tokenism is defined by the Oxford
English Dictionary as "the practice of
making only a perfunctory or symbolic
effort to be inclusive to members
of minority groups, especially by
recruiting a small number of people
from underrepresented groups in
order to give the appearance of racial
or sexual equality within a workforce."
While most who work in campus
housing would recognize the efforts
made to recruit professionals who
hold different identities, the question
remains, what makes a justifiable
presentation of diversity? What
necessitates a minimal threshold of
color to achieve diversity? How do
professionals engage with diversity in
positive ways?
Discussing tokenism, one
professional of color explained how
often "[I would] find myself in rooms
and conversations where I am the only
person of color. I know I am present
because my campus lacks a diverse
staff, and I am the solution. It can
be uncomfortable." Another noted
how "at every important level of the
university, we seem to only have one
professional of color, and they don't
have a real voice or influence. They are
just there, so we can say we have one."
In her article about racial capitalism,
Nancy Leong, an associate professor
of law in the Sturm College of Law at
the University of Denver in Colorado,
explained, "In a society preoccupied
with diversity, nonwhiteness is a
valued commodity. And where that
society is founded on capitalism, it
is unsurprising that the commodity
of nonwhiteness is exploited for its
market value." Housing departments
are no different in the exploitation
of diversity as they, consciously
and unconsciously, reinforce the
tokenization of professionals of color
at both peer and hierarchy levels.

A common theme among those
interviewed is that diverse hires are
meant to pacify concerns, convincing
them they could now be part of the
administration and make changes to
the broken system. However, their
roles were limited in scope and never
really made any meaningful impact
on the student experience or policy.
This reality contributes to the idea that
professionals of color are just there
so that departments can say they have
"one," and this represents the inherent
silencing of these professionals. This
also creates space for silencing to
continue from peers throughout work
who believe that their way of thinking
and doing is the right one.
Representation is important for
many reasons, but there are also times
when it becomes a burden, particularly
when the team role for a professional
of color - created and reinforced by
messaging from peers and supervisors
- is to represent the voices and
experiences of people of color or to
simply serve as a number. Tokenism
works to maintain stereotypes, and with
that comes the constant negotiation of
that stereotype; as Jeff Chang points
out in his book of essays, "one has
to always attend to the gap between
how one appears to others and how
one perceives oneself." This constant
negotiation is only further intensified
by microaggressions from peers and
supervisors.
Tokenism also influences the
professional opportunities afforded
to professionals of color. As Chang
notes, "Diversity allows whites to
remove themselves while requiring
the Other to continue performing for
them." In addition to representation,
professionals of color often are used
to do for white people the work of
diversity, equity, inclusion, and
social justice. This single course for
professional opportunities limits the
scope of possibility for them and often
negates the fact that they are not all the
same and have other interests beyond
or in addition to diversity and social



Talking Stick - January/February 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Talking Stick - January/February 2019

Talking Stick - January/February 2019
Vision
Just In
Calendar
Your ACUHO-I
Transitions
Res Life
Academic Initiatives
Special Focus
Underlying Expectations
Private Matters
Conversations
First Takes
Around Student Affairs
New Members
Snapshot
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Intro
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - BB1
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - BB2
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Talking Stick - January/February 2019
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Cover2
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 1
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 2
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 3
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 4
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 5
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 6
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 7
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Vision
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 9
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Just In
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 11
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 12
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 13
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 14
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 15
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 16
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 17
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Calendar
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Your ACUHO-I
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Transitions
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 21
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Res Life
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 23
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 24
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 25
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Academic Initiatives
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 27
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 28
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 29
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Special Focus
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 31
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 32
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 33
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Underlying Expectations
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 35
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 36
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 37
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 38
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 39
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Private Matters
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 41
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 42
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 43
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 44
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 45
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 46
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 47
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Conversations
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 49
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 50
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 51
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - First Takes
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Around Student Affairs
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 54
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - New Members
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Snapshot
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Cover3
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Cover4
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - CCover1
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - CCover2
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C1
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C2
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C3
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C4
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C5
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C6
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C7
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C8
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C9
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C10
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C11
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C12
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C13
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C14
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C15
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C16
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C17
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C18
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C19
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C20
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C21
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C22
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C23
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C24
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C25
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C26
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C27
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C28
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C29
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C30
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C31
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C32
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 95
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 96
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