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Presumed Incompetence, (In)Visibility, and Minoritized Scholars

So deep are our ingrained beliefs of inferiority as women, people of color, international, and/or GBTQ scholars etc that we question and doubt our own abilities and competence all the time.

Even if we recognize our abilities, those around us will not see us as competent. Through their limited notions of what a great leader, scholar or teacher looks like (or what excellence means), they will look past us for nominations to positions, awards, and so on, even when we are in the room or at the table. We will have to continuously work to be seen as legitimate, competent, and serious.

When we recognize all of this and call out the sexism, racism, colonialism, and other structures of oppression, we will have to go through the next hurdle. This hurdle is that merely talking about these experiences will mean we are framed as too passionate, too radical, too much of a social justice warrior, and not balanced enough. Therefore, we are assumed to be not "good team players" and leaders. We will become the "angry" mean people who don't see the goodness and niceness in others around us, even when we are simply stating facts.

And as we pass through these challenges, the old wounds and everyday microaggressions come back to haunt our mind. All the times when our space, our labor, and our joy were taken away from us. And somehow we will have to swallow all of this pushback we get, including from our close friends and allies, to move forward.

Sara Ahmed says all this eloquently in her books: On Being Included and Living a Feminist Life

Presumed Incompetence, (In)Visibility, and Minoritized Scholars


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