Really interesting interview.
Welcome back, Academic Feminists! Today, I am proud to present an interview with Carmen G. González, professor of law at Seattle University School of Law, who, together with co-editors Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs, Yolanda Flores Niemann, and Angela P. Harris, recently released the collection, Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia. In what will surely become an invaluable resource for women of color in academia and their allies, Presumed Incompetent features 30 essays from individuals from a variety of disciplines, academic standings, ethnic and racial backgrounds, and geographic contexts. The racist, sexist, and heteronormative environments recounted in the essays of the collection are at once shocking and horribly predictable; a reminder that, despite the gains made by white women and men and women of color in academia over the past few decades, we still have a very long way to go. It is a privilege to be able to bring you insight into the making of this brave and brilliant collection.
Many of the contributors to Presumed Incompetent paint very graphic pictures of the way that racism in academia “achieves a violence that is psychological, embodied, and cultural.” And yet the theme of resilience echoes strongly throughout the text. Can you speak to the importance of that theme in the collection?
Despite the harsh realities that women of color confront in their professional lives, the ultimate lesson of Presumed Incompetent is resilience. Researchers who work with trauma define resilience as the ability to recover from stress or adversity and to protect oneself from harm. Our goal as editors was to empower women of color and allies by providing tools and strategies to overcome the challenges described in this volume. One of the book’s distinguishing features is its solution-oriented approach.