Friday, October 15, 2010
Is being called a "token" racist?
Is calling someone a "token" a racist comment in some contexts? Duquesne Law School is facing this issue in a recent suit. A candidate for deanship was ultimately not interviewed because the provost did not want to did not want to advance a 'token' for further consideration." What bothered me though was a statement that another member of the selection stated. He said that the candidate should receive a "courtesy interview" because he was a minority candidate and the school was committed to diversity. Seriously, I don't believe a school that is "committed to diversity" would only give a qualified minority candidate a "courtesy interview." So I'm not sure what's worse not being given an interview because he was perceived as a token or possibly receiving an interview based only on his minority status. I believe in diversity, but I think its racist to assume that a minority candidate is not as qualified as a white candidate or that a minority candidate should only receive a courtesy interview. If Duquesne really valued diversity, it would consider all qualified candidates, including minority candidates. Also there are tangible benefits to have diversity in staff and leadership at a law school. It's not just about having a diverse student body that will be prepared to provide legal services to an increasing diverse population, but its also about having diversity in front of the future leaders of the legal profession.