Mulligans.

In 2010 (while teaching AND going through chemo for breast cancer), I got a mediocre student eval score.

(ONE white student in a very small grad class went on a cruise instead of turning in work. She gave me a killer eval for that B).
The rest of my student evals fell within medium-good range, especially for first years on the tt, teaching advanced grad courses.

I had exceptional research, good professional and institutional service, and good teaching measures.
The all-white tenure + promotion committee, some of whom didn't even show up to teach their classes, decided in their wisdom that I would not be reappointed.

No mulligans for me.
After a grueling (while still going through treatment), and navigation of the formal and informal channels - diversity, ombudspersons, colleagues, mentors, legal services - I challenged the decision purely on the basis of institutional standards and my performance.
The provost - the psychologist Bob Sternberg - reluctantly overturned the decision and reappointed me.

He added, however, with poor grace: "If your colleagues treat you like this, you probably won't want to stay here."
When white academics sneer and imagine that POC get really good deals in the academy, I remember the cold terror that settled upon my skin every time I went back into the department after that encounter.
I was *ill* from knowing that I had put every bit of effort and joy into this work; and that I was being hounded out of it by human beings that I used to trust.
One of these human beings was a gay white woman whom I deeply respected; one was an Asian immigrant with a profound hatred for religious people and religion; one was an older woman who used to entertain my daughter and mentor me.

Knowing all this, really screwed with my head.
They don't always show up as demons with scimitars.

Sometimes they come and smile, and say, "hey, let's chat. You're new! Are you having any problems in class?"
I was not a spring chicken then. I wasn't implicitly trusting. But they outdid me.

I could have stayed, and struggled to get tenure, while dying inside every time I parked in that lot, and walked through the halls. My stomach churning as I smiled in class.
I would weep as I returned home after a class, having seen the more overtly racist students snigger and try to undermine me, and I could do nothing. I could not go to my department.

Some of my students of color complained about their behavior to the dept head.
So you're aware, students do have power. Esp in some regions, some institutions, and when the professors are BIPOC, Muslim, etc.

The senior professor (who hated religious people) incited her PhD advisee to start a petition against me for being too demanding - in my first term.
So I quickly found *whatever* alternative position I could find at a liberal arts college. The institution was in disarray, its departments were in turf battles, and they had serious financial problems.

I didn't have an emotional choice. I took it.
My new college started talking about layoffs.
Out of the frying pan ...

The Dean of Arts & Sciences, an affable poet, quickly decided that the only Muslim, the only Global Studies specialist, and one of few faculty with a book published would be their Jonah.
Even after he'd privately decided to sacrifice me, he urged me to show up for campus events more frequently (I had a 1 hour commute and a young child).

He decided that he would terminate me MONTHS before he informed me. (My dept head told me later).
He was trying to find an excuse, not being an 'active citizen' on campus.

At that college, I developed new knowledge+skills in Assessment. I reviewed curricular and student work across Global Studies, crunched numbers, and wrote a report to help them retain accreditation
WHILE getting terminated.

So, as we contemplate who gets a #mulligan today, some folks can destroy entire institutions, and merit a mulligan.

Others can build the world anew, but never even get what they deserve.
Whew. That thread was hard.

A few lessons:
- Publicly stand by unfairly targeted colleagues
- Tell your junior colleagues whom/what to watch for
- "Nice folks" = sometimes the worst
- When you hire BIPOC, please don't kill them
- If it doesn't seem OK, it's probably not normal
-Hire responsibly. Don't throw your hires into terrible turf fights
-When reviewing BIPOC/other marginalized faculty applicant materials, take into account the systemic hazing they've probably experienced
-Don't ask why they didn't publish during chemo and a mastectomy

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More from @ShabanaMir1

9 Feb
@springsteen I'd like to suggest some shots for your next Jeep ad.
This one is in Iowa - the middle of the US. Would it work for your ad? I think it would.
This one would be beautiful too. Since we are coming together.

PS: Who's 'we,' by the way?
This is the Oak Creek Sikh temple. I think it's perfect.
Read 4 tweets
20 Nov 20
Many of us never speak publicly about what we believe -esp religious views on gender & sexuality. Because of community gossip & judgement that can literally get people kicked out of jobs, orgs, networks.
People learn to self-censor.
For male religious leaders of known harmful behavior, as long as they buy into patriarchy and traditional gender roles, all is forgotten. Women too must buy into patriarchal religion to be acceptable.
I'm mostly not into self-censoring - it's not a big virtue; it's due to my circumstances, where I live, my spouse, the kind of person I am. My solidarity is relatively open.

But I'm aware of possible dangers. When you work within the community, there's always risk.
Read 4 tweets
18 Sep 20
The single clip from "Cuties" that is being circulated is not representative of the entire movie.
I have watched it. This is a serious, ethnographic film by a Muslim woman on girlhood, cultural tension, race, belonging, sexism, and the widespread sexualization of girls.
Yes, there are some terrible camera angles and images. I would not show it to your young kids. If you are attracted to little girls, you should not watch it.

But sexualized content is widely available and impacts young girls. That's the point. That's the reality of our children.
The two-minute clip is part of a story. It is not the whole story. This girl is torn between cultures, yearning to belong, deploying her body.
The ending is amazing. I can't say more because spoilers. But it's beautiful.
In case you're wondering, I am quite prudish as people go.
Read 8 tweets
13 Aug 20
I contemplate some key N American Muslim women leaders, scholars, organizers

Then I consider some of the community brothers who rise to celebrity-level prominence with not HALF the leadership, organizing, emotional, interpersonal, spiritual skills+strength of these women

and
I think to myself

So-and-so would be next-level prominent in the community if she were a man

With some power, her skills and experience would make real change in our orgs, our communities, our mosques!

and I get mad.
And then, when one of these amazing women makes a much-needed critique of our communities, she is lambasted and excluded from leadership, her critique lives in long memories, and she becomes framed as an outsider.

Contrast with how abusers & racists are uplifted & defended.
Read 6 tweets
25 Jul 20
In my many yrs on this planet, I've served many orgs & institutions. I've learned there's a certain type of person who has the talent of figuring out how to dine off an org, while contributing the least amount of labor in return. Ppl like me take a job description seriously ...
as in, to serve & build the org. But the parasitical type of person looks at the org and sees not a flowerbed they can nurture, but a larger animal whose purpose is to be leeched off, sucked dry, & eventually discarded.
They grow fat, accumulate laurels, & keep the powers happy.
The key qualifications they have are this: They are neither encumbered by excess competence or professionalism, or by inconvenient ethical principles.
They are free to follow the route of profit & power. They are trusted because they're as self-serving as those already in power.
Read 7 tweets

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