By Zasha Hayes
Black Faculty and staff of California’s community colleges focused on the need for safe spaces in classroom settings for students and staff.
The staff at Black Table Talk April 29, also said that the racial battle fatigue they face is starting to overflow the community.
Abdimalik Buul said there are major issues to being a black person in the predominantly white space that is California’s Community Colleges.
An important, recurring topic was the root of anti-Blackness and the result of it.
The most common and destructive results of anti-Blackness, as well as the lack of safe spaces for the Black community, were the Black tax and racial battle fatigue.
The Black tax, as said by professor Ty Simpson, is the need to prove to others that a Black person deserves to be in a place of authority while in a predominantly White space. More specifically this is reflected in the workplace.
This includes the racial profiling Black people would go through once they had proven they weren’t as disposable as the next worker.
“We (Black faculty) have to always prove that we are capable and qualified to be in that seat (of authority) or have that responsibility, and then we’re given so much more.
Anything that has to do with Black students…it always seems like we’re the first to be asked to perform.
It’s just assumed because we’re Black that this is a task that we can complete,” Simpson said.
Racial battle fatigue was also a topic that the panel touched on. It is the result of years of carrying the responsibility of having to explain to others why for example, a racial stereotype of Black people might be wrong and could be detrimental to the community.
“(Racial battle fatigue is) the psychological weight that we put on ourselves because of our Blackness and how the dominant culture, the white folks, think of us in our Blackness.
They (non-Black people) see Blackness as a deficit. They view it from a lens of deficiency.
“How that Blackness is defined for us in that dominant culture and because of all the unjust treatment and racism that we for our lifetimes’ experience, it leads to this psychological burden that we call a black tax,” Professor Robert L. Stewart Jr said.
Racial battle fatigue was said to be the reason so many people in the Black community feel as though they are solely and individually responsible for the correcting of Black stereotypes in a predominately non-Black space.
However, it was said that there was only so much one person can do for the greater good of the many.
This is why the need for safe spaces for Black students and faculty is steadily increasing.
The panelists, said a space needs to be created for Blackness and the success of Black students.
This space would be free of microaggressions, stereotypes and racism.
The co-director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab Dr. Luke Woods, spoke about strategic cluster hiring of people of color.
The panelists felt it was important to let the audience know that just because they were passionate about the creation of Black safe spaces, it did not mean they were against any other race.
As said by Professor Janue Johnson, “I don’t have to hate you to love me.”