On being myself in academia for nearly two decades: Part I

Things that white academics have said to me

When I see a hijabi-babe, I watch and wait to see if it slips to see her hair.

You don’t want to do that [top] job when you have kids.

Are you trying to find a husband?

When I see her, I don’t see race. I see class.

My wife is Indian.

Most staff I’ve had a problem with are women.

This is all about the challenges for coloured doctoral students.

I’m colour-blind.

They don’t want to do Black British history.

Where are you from?

Things that academics of colour have said to me

How do you cope?

I need to leave academia.

I can’t tell you how much what you’ve done means to me in my life.

I need your advice.

I need a hug.

I sat there with your book in my hands and thought to myself, if she can do it, then I can too.

One day, that’s what we’d like to be like.

You’ve made a huge difference to what I thought was even possible.


Thank you.


Inspired by Susan Harlan’s ‘Things that Male Academics Have Said to Me‘.  Part II to follow.

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