Black academics need to stop reproducing anti-Black notions of exceptionalism

Ciarra Jones
Sep 9, 2018 · 1 min read

Below is an excerpt from my article for “Black Youth Project.” Read the full article here.

I received my undergraduate degree at a public institution, and now I am at an Ivy League. This is my first dive into the world of elite academia, and soon I will leave this program with both my degree and my brokenness. Though I am proud to be receiving my Master’s degree from a top university, it is making me increasingly aware of the unhealthy and violent dynamics that exist within the academy. Rest is decentered as important, while white notions of excellence are the standard for belonging. Initially, I really struggled to find ways to feel like a whole person in this cutthroat culture, and I thought that surely my fellow Black students were struggling as well.

But as a Black academic who openly critiques academic institutions, particularly for the ways that they fail to support or even care about Black people, I have found that the detractions that sting most are not from my professors or the institutions themselves, but Black students who have formed symbiotic relationships with the very academic spaces that mistreat them.

Ciarra Jones

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Ciarra’s writing explores race, education, religion, and sexuality. Pronouns:She/Her ||