An anonymous professor at a liberal arts college wrote a column for Inside Higher Ed detailing how his minority status overshadowed his qualifications for the job:
So what’s the number following me around? It’s the diversity statistic on my campus. The percentage of faculty at my institution who are faculty of color (we say “diversity,” but then when it comes to counting, we seem to be only keeping track of the color of our skin). I am one of “them,” you see, and there are days when I wonder if when I was hired a little meter turned in the provost’s mind (like a calendar flipping to the next date) with a little ca-ching sound that signaled I was the nth faculty of color at my institution. Maybe all faculty of color everywhere have a special number, a percentage that they are known by in administrative circles: There goes the one who put us in double digits, here’s the 20th-percenter and so on.
Let me put humility aside for a second. When I was hired at my current position, I knew I was good at what I do. I had published more than many people at my stage in their careers, I had presented at conferences regularly, I had won a couple of awards, and I was a good teacher. However, once I joined my institution, it seemed that all of that was forgotten. All that was ever talked about was the “diversity statistic”: how the institution had hired x number of faculty of color, y number of women in science and so on. …
We should be more than our skin color, our sexual orientation, or our country of origin. We should be more than a checked category, a percentage, or an initiative. Unfortunately, we’re not. I know that there are many more like me. And many of us are wondering how long that invisible number is going to follow us around.
With Elizabeth Warren’s fake racial heritage gobbling up most of the headlines about campus diversity recruitment, it’s easy to forget that diversity hires based on sincere minority claims are no less odious. A person’s worth has nothing to do with the color of his skin. Universities should stop treating minority staff and students like collectibles.