“I know how it feels, been there”, as I wait for the two to finish and say, “done that”. Being oppressed by the oppressed, its real y’all. At first I thought these two different women, one Black and one Latina, each from a different phase in my life at the same university, were just trying to be empathetic but I was wrong. I guess they were trying to justify their justification of what they went through and by allowing someone else go through it, would give validity to their point.
Reporting sexual harassment or professional bullying is stigmatized as complaining . It happened once and I was mocked. The second time was with our Director of institutional Diversity and Title IX Coordinator. I went to her because I was no longer able to bear the weight of Latinx initiatives, without compensation and without the emotional labor. Enough was enough!
I live in a world where I am constantly pulled from one side to another. I now have to live with the idea that those same people who were oppressed years ago, and still are, are passing that same sentiment onto me. You would think that me telling the Vice President of Student Engagement, who is also white, would be frustrated with losing another Latina pillar in the school but it didn’t. It was the Director of Institutional Diversity, who supposedly stands for equality and fairness, that guilt tripped me into staying, even after I told her the reason why I had to step down! What does she want a death certificate of my sick relative or proof that I am spread thing with the demands of my sick family?
Here’s the story. For the last 4.5 years I have worked for this institution. At this same institution, I established several multicultural student programs, started two organizations, one social and one academic, increased Latino recruitment and since graduation, have advised the Latino honor society on campus and brought many undocumented student resources, all while trying to engage administration and faculty in the process. I intended to include everyone because it is everyone’s responsibility to make all students feel welcomed. In the wake of receiving news that one of my aunts was in the process of dying, my dad having diabetes and getting older, and my mom just recently released from the hospital, I decided to step down. I would never think that a person who I consider strong and who I thought, stood for justice would push me to something I no longer could do and believed that I was using my students for my own agenda. It only proved the point I had been trying to disprove, that she was standing aside letting me do all the programming, threw in her commentary when she saw fit about certain Latino initiatives and when shit hit the fan, stepped in only to save her name.
Fast forward a week and the president of the university, a trustee and a vice president step into my office with full intention to address the issue of undocumented students (well after I stepped down from being advisor). In this past week I learned that many thought It was using my students to get ahead, those same opinions went as high as the cabinet of the university to the point where the Director of Diversity’s boss came into my office to disdainfully state, “thank you for being there for our dreamers (as I internally cringe because I hate the word). As I had stated to Veronica (a pillar in the Latino community), if she had spoken to the Director she would have known that everyone here is an ally to all students”. Was this white lady proving to herself that shes capable of helping undocumented students or that her subordinate is able to do all good things? Did she want the brown stamp of approval?
I think so.
Y’all im only an admissions counselor who has obviously stepped on people’s toes but what do you do when you have students mortified about Trumps policies and our universities lack of attention who are crying in your office? I didn’t add fuel to the students fire, I just acknowledged it.
Since then I have stepped down from all activities but still remain as an advocate to student. So now what?
#tokenized #latina #highereducation #latinainhighereducation #undocumented #whiteprivilege #papelesprivileged