As a Student of Sociology I actually never had a lecture on Race or Racism. Even in our lecture about Social Inqeuality it was mainly about “Cultural Differences” or “Cultural Disadvantages”. We read Goffman, we read Durkheim, but we never talked about their Theories on Race. Let alone talking about the Theories of any Black Academic.
When we talked about Gender we had maybe once or twice a very short Note that “Ethnicities” can also have an impact on People. I am talking about 6 Semesters full of Lectures. What did studying give me tough? It improved my skills in analytical reading, and gave me access to things which helped me to dismantle this kind of White Academia. To actually beat the White Academic nonsense with its own weapons.One thing lead to another.
But at the same time I wasn’t alone in this lectures. Studying the exact same things did not lead the white Students to the same conclusions. And in Sociology we really didnt have so many Students of Color.
It was quite the contrary. Especially Students of Sociology and Anthropology/Ethnology think they are very critical because that’s what they are supposed to be when they really are not. This self image of being critical by the ‘nature’ of their field leads them to blindness and arrogance at it’s best.
If you don’t study Sociology or Anthropology you might think it is like a very utopical space of critical People and deep discussions whereas it was a pain in the ass to have discussions with People who did not know anything at all about Race, Racism, ,Whiteness, Islam, Muslims etc. but did insist on teaching and patronising you while they at the same time violently made you an object of their colonial/orientalist curiosity.
In my whole time of studying at this University it took me 5 Semesters to finally find People who had the same struggles as I do in making a real personal progress in the White Curriculum, because we were mainly busy defending ourselves against epistemic violence. Daily. The Campus became a place of pain.
Those beautiful sisters were a gift from Allah for me. Our shared experiences of racism in White Academia and the pain of articulating yourself in rooms where Racism is being reproduced daily with a claim of being ‘scientific’ and therefore ‘objective’ and ‘neutral’ made us become Sisters and Allies.
We worked about one year on creating our own Spaces on a White Campus. Spaces where we could validate our Knowledge, Spaces where we could create Knowlede. We had to sacrifice our ‘leisuretime’ to put together a reader with Postcolonial Literature, and meet twice a week between our lectures to move further. To make progress because White Academia wasn’t giving that to us. Instead it was taking Energy, Self-Concisoussness, and our Motivation.
So when you ask me: Studying lead me to Opportunities, and to People but it is always the Individual itself who gives a creative and intellectual direction to the existing Opportunities. Seeing so many White Students talking the biggest non sense when it comes to Racism altough we had the same lectures etc. is the perfect example for that. White Academia for a racialised person means to take 1 but to give away 2. It is a constant battle against Ignorance and Objectification while at the same time White Academia expects you to be grateful. I don’t owe
White Academia anything. It never taught me the things I need to know to survive it.