some of us are brave
Finally, it’s time to make good on the promise found below. The Alt-White Academic All-Stars list has arrived!
You can scroll down for the history of this list and a note on my methods. But without further ado, I give you, in no particular order the most engaged, engaging, and follow-worthy non-white academics on Twitter:
1. Kevin Michael Foster (@kevmfos) I could tell you about Kevin’s authentic engagement with his tweeps and ideas that include but transcend education and schooling but I think his Twitter profile says it best: “Spoke my mind; they gave me tenure anyway.” Oh, if only all academics should take a cue. You’re up, Mr. Foster!
2. Blair LM Kelley (@profblmkelley) The Professor offers thought-provoking historical context for the day’s most talked about stories. From the Trayvon Martin story to globalization, hers is a perspective rooted in history and she has a great rapport with her followers.
3. DN Lee (@DNLee5) This biologist is on a one-woman mission to spread the gospel about people of color in the STEM fields. With anyone else that might be, at best, admirable. When the woman is this committed, this motivated, and this indefatigable it’s a fools bet against her.
4. Rhonda Ragsdale (@profragsdale) This historian/sociologist does not just tweet; she produces content. Her weekly #SaturdaySchool on Twitter is open-source higher education without all the fancy start-ups and registration. You tune in, jump in, or lurk. Regardless, you’re guaranteed to be enlightened. She also runs a public scholarship initiative on the history of Black Towns in the US. Pull up a twitter-chair; class is always in session.
5. Leta Hong Fincher (@letahong) For all the seriousness of Leta’s research on urban women & men, gender inequality, marriage, housing she doesn’t take herself all that seriously at all. The result is an engaging twitter stream that enlightens and engages but never bombards.
6. Sarah J. Jackson (@sjjphd) This communications scholar brings a sharp and insightful focus to the media we consume and the media that sometimes threatens to consume us. There, at that tipping point stands Sarah, ready to pull us back from the brink. She’s also funny. That matters…almost as much as it matters that she uses “bless your heart” appropriately. As a Southerner, I approve.
7. Sandy Darity (@sandydarity) Sure, there are “names” on Twitter but there aren’t too many who don’t hide behind their names…and a one-way stream of twitter broadcasts that we suspect are managed by graduate students. Sandy could get away with a tweeter-in-residence but it becomes pretty clear, pretty fast that his timeline is all him. That’s when you find out the guy who has studied stratification in everything from health, education, and sports is also a serious Janelle Monae fan with a penchant for dark literature. It’s the kind of office hours you could mostly only dream about.
And there’s your Twitter All Star List. Follow and be well.
June 9, 2012…
I’m pleased to say that when I made a call for non-white academics on Twitter, many people responded. Granted, they did not all follow the rules but I chalk that up to enthusiasm. I received emails, direct messages, and a few blind items in the comments of random blog posts. For some reason we seemed to want to nominate people privately? That’s an interesting discussion for another day. But for now I give you…
The Alt White Academics Lists!
Alt-White Education is one of the most broadly defined of all the lists. That’s largely because people who “do” education come from all corners of higher ed and beyond. I’ll also add that the sociologist in me is intrigued by the relative shortness of this list. Education produces, far and away, the majority of all black PhDs. Any speculation about why we see so few of them on Twitter?
Alt-White Humanities shaped up to be the largest and list and one of the most intriguing. Digital humanities has brought many humanists out of the archives and into the public square and non-white scholars are not different in that respect. Some of the ways these scholars are merging technology and humanities actually challenged me to include them in across several categories (especially STEM). It’s an exciting list.
Alt-White Social Scientists is also smaller than I would have expected however, it is home to several of the most active alt-white tweeps on ANY of the lists. Social engagement seems to be embedded in how social scientists on Twitter shape their relationship with the platform. Again, starts my sociologist spidey senses tingling.
Alt-White STEM was the surprising leader in depth and breadth! That runs counter to the national narrative of the invisibility of minority scholars in STEM. They are out there and they are building community, often times in plain sight. With this list can we now officially condemn any STEM panel anywhere, ever again that does NOT include a non white male? And I’d be remiss if I did not thank @DNLee5 for the robustness of this list. Her own efforts to raise the profile of minority STEM folks was already on-going when I had this idea. She graciously shared her list with us. Be sure to check out her full on efforts to erase the invisibility of minority scientists and engineers over on Scientific American. It’s stellar, important work.
Alt-White Think Tanks/Associations emerged as a category late in the game when so many individual twitter profiles of Alt White Academics included links to their various collective efforts within their fields of study. It includes everything from social justice organizations to university robotic teams. These are the ways Alt-White Academics make themselves visible. Ahem, as in: if you don’t see them it’s because you don’t see.
Part of the fun of this project was the many new tweeps it brought into my social media world. Some were just too good to not recognize. Many of you felt the same as noted in your almost fanboy/girl adulation of some tweeps when you sent them to me. Using a systematic if not purely objective process that includes number and quality of RTs (engagement) with the number of followers AND followed (relationships) and the number of different people who recommended them (impact) I have culled some of the most engaging and engaged Alt White Academics. Let’s call it the All Star Alt White List. If you follow no one else, add these scholars to your timeline and thank me later. (Forthcoming…)
Notes and reflections on the development of the project:
This project brought up some interesting reactions and issues. As a sociologist and curious cat I could not let them go undocumented or unshared.
First, I did not ethnicity police with this. Good, bad, or indifferent I used white as a euphemism for institutional power. If you felt that your work, research orientation or that of another scholar exists outside that power then that was good enough for me.
Next, I imagined these lists as jumping off points for engagement with these scholars. As such, I decided early on to exclude private/protected twitter accounts. I did this, one, because that is not a great sign of public engagement and, two, out of respect for the person who obviously does not consider their twitter accounts a public vehicle.
Finally, this project was initiated by the noted sameness in the London School of Economics Impact Blog lists but they are not an indictment of them. That’s why I never expected them to respond by changing their content in any way. That is not their responsibility. I am the one who saw a need and, thus, I always accepted that it was my responsibility to respond to that need.
June 8, 2012
You can see the original post about this endeavor to compile social media profiles of “minority” academics here.
But a quick summary:
I saw LSE’s lists; thought they were kinda whitewashed, launched a twitter campaign to build similar lists of non-white academics (very, very broadly defined) and voila!
I imagine this becoming a project so AltWhite (like AltAc, get it?) is now a “thing” with a url and a home.