Should You Check the ‘Race Box’?

If you’ve applied for any kind of an academic job, you’ve seen it: the form that asks you to disclose your gender, race, and, if applicable, disability. And you’ve probably taken note of the assurances that your reply is optional, it’s confidential, and it will have no influence on the hiring process.

So maybe you’ve stared at that form and asked yourself: Should I check the race box?

That’s a particularly pressing question for candidates of color. Ask them how they feel about disclosing their race, and you’ll learn that there are two schools of thought on the matter. While some scholars are wary, others think it might be an asset.

I wanted to get a better read on their attitudes. So this past fall, when I attended the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring conference in Arlington, Virginia, I brought a short, anonymous survey with me. (The conference, which is hosted by the Southern Regional Education Board State Doctoral Scholars Program, gives scholars from underrepresented groups an opportunity to network with each other. There’s no other academic conference where you’ll find so many Ph.D.’s of color gathered under the same roof, so it’s the perfect laboratory.) <Read more.>

Via Stacey Patton, The Chronicle of Higher Education Vitae.