Study: Black professors must be "entertaining"

A new study published by Vanderbilt University underpins the theory of racial bias in higher education.

According to the study, black faculty members are not only wanted for intellectual purposes but to entertain as well. Apparently being an expert in a field is not enough; these professors must step it up to pass the general public’s test for being a “good” teacher.

“Black faculty members are expected to be “entertaining” when presenting academic research to mostly white peers, according to a new Vanderbilt study.”

The survey shows that black academics are expected to tell jokes and keep their presentations loaded with levity.

It gets worse for black women who are academics.

“Black females additionally noted being subject to their colleagues’ preoccupation with their clothing choices and hairstyle, and reported being admonished to play down their “passion” and “smile more.”

A common theme that many black men and women face in the workplace is compounded in higher education. Not to mention that the number of black faculty working in higher education is just nine percent, many academics have likely faced this issue many times before.

One of the authors of the study, Ebony McGee, is hopeful that the study will be used as a way to potentially train others in accepting workplace diversity.

“Our hope is that this study will offer novel and useful insights to those who organize presentations and those who give them, so they will be able to understand, appreciate and provide an improved experience for black and other minoritized scholars.”

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