Faculty & Staff
Leadership & Policy
Tag: Dr. Khalilah L. Brown-Dean
“What we call the beginning is often the end; and to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” Twenty-five years ago this week, I used those words from T.S. Eliot’s “Little Gidding” to start my high school commencement speech.
June 2, 2019
Once Convicted, Forever Doomed: On Civil Death and American Politics
One of my all-time favorite movies is Shawshank Redemption starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins. I was fascinated by the story of two men, accused of different crimes in very different circumstances, embarking on a common path toward redemption. I was always puzzled why Morgan Freeman’s character seemed so hesitant to leave when he was released. I didn’t understand how a man who spent most of his formative years fighting for his life behind bars, was now afraid to live freely.
April 30, 2019
Yes Virginia, There is a Choice
Like many other students of color who receive messages that they’re not good enough, I had resigned myself to believing that I was either unready or unprepared for college. As a first-generation student, I couldn’t rely on legacy status to give me a leg up in the admissions process and my family certainly couldn’t rely on making donations to athletic booster clubs or local alumni groups.
April 16, 2019
Defining Political Progress
One of the things I love most about writing for Diverse is that it provides an opportunity for me to think through our increasingly complicated political space. Exploring the intersection of politics, pop culture and higher education also provides a platform to align pedagogy with public scholarship. I approach this column as I approach my classroom: my job isn’t to tell people how to think; but to provide them with information that encourages them to think critically and analytically.
April 8, 2019
On the Meaning of Survival
The deadliest school shooting in modern history happened before colleges and universities instituted emergency alert systems, and before the pervasiveness of social media allowed for instantaneous notifications. Many students continued to move between classes unaware of what was unfolding around them.
March 28, 2019
First Step or First Stumble?
Michelle Alexander’s 2010 book, The New Jim Crow, captured the sobering reality that the United States now locks up more people, per incident, than any other country in the world.
March 21, 2019
The Myth of Meritocracy
To my high school guidance counselor, I wasn’t college material. I remember flipping through the dusty pages of the massive dictionary in the school library to find the definition of the word meritocracy: “the holding of power by people selected based on their ability.” I needed to understand why she repeated that word to me and some of my classmates to limit our options.
March 13, 2019
The Fallacy of NOT Seeing Race
Over the last two weeks I’ve listened to friends, pundits and scholars debate the implications of discovering yearbook photos of Virginia’s Governor and Attorney General proudly wearing Blackface. These revelations are more complicated than dismissing them as youthful indiscretions that were simply apropos of the time.
February 14, 2019
Dr. King Deserves More
We have now entered what I and many other scholars of color call, “The High Season.” It’s that period between Martin Luther King Day, Black History Month and Women’s History Month when we are regularly called upon to lend our scholarly expertise to elementary schools programs, university symposia and community banquets. But, Dr. King deserves more than just annual celebrations. His memory deserves a full time commitment to eradicating poverty, abuses of power, sexism, militarism and yes, racism.
January 28, 2019
Sorority Life as an Act of Resistance
My expectations of life as a Black, college student in the 90’s were largely shaped by a TV show called “A Different World.” The show was set on the campus of the fictional Hillman College in Virginia. For the first time I saw a group of students on television who looked like me and whose background mirrored my own.
January 14, 2019
Teaching Through Trauma
Trauma nestles in the crevices of our memories. It burrows in our shoulders, lies dormant in our muscles, and creeps in via a smell, a word, or even an unrecognizable reminder of the pain of the past. For our students, those triggers can be class discussions on controversial topics like the Department of Education’s retreat from addressing sexual assault or debates about sexual misconduct during judicial confirmation hearings.
January 7, 2019
Giving Thanks Amid Political Uncertainty
In my family Thanksgiving has never been about pilgrims having a mythical dinner with Indian tribes they tried to eradicate. Instead, Thanksgiving provides an opportunity to show our gratitude for family, friendship and community. Over the last year, however, the mood in the United States has felt incredibly heavy. From mass acts of violence that have claimed the lives of innocent Americans to the more mundane political battles that amplify longstanding tensions, finding gratitude in this contentious political space seems elusive.
November 20, 2018
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