4 thoughts on “Racial diversity in philosophy: some concrete proposals

  1. On the subject of practical suggestions, does anyone have thoughts about how a department embarrassed of its whiteness can best approach hiring? My department is pretty big by philosophy department standards, and we’re all white. We’re hiring this fall, and (at least for some of us involved in hiring) racial diversity is something that’s on our minds.

    When we get our massive piles of applications, though, they won’t include any information about race — applicants supply this information, but it isn’t made available to us. So the worry is that the only thing we’ll have to go on is last name. And that can give us at least some (defeasible) evidence about the race/ethnicity of *some* applicants, in some specific cases. But it won’t help at all if we’re trying to identify promising African American applicants. As a result, we’re concerned that an attempt to wind up with a racially diverse shortlist will actually end up being unfair to black applicants. And yet we have no idea what else we can do, given that we want a racially diverse shortlist and we aren’t provided with information about applicants’ race.

    Does anyone have suggestions about this?

  2. magicalersatz, yes! It is a proven successful strategy (but I’m not at work, so don’t have the references to hand) that it helps to write an ad that appeals to a pluralistic audience, breaking conventions, pairing AOS with AOC’s that are disproportionately likely to be the province of nonwhite and minority applicants, and even requiring someone who attends to issues of marginalized people in their teaching and/or scholarship. Quelle horreur, I’m suggesting that the need for a diverse staff should influence your description of the open position, but indeed I am! Then, even if you end up with one of the many white male applicants out there, he’ll likely be one who engages with your expressed commitments and serves the students’ needs for overt attention to diversity e’en if he is in the comfortable majority. And it is quite likely you’ll actually get applicants from someone who shares an identity with a marginalized group.

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