Some still stay, committed to black study in the university’s undercommon rooms. They study without an end, plan without a pause, rebel without a policy, conserve without a patrimony. They study in the university and the university forces them under, relegates them to the state of those without interests, without credit, without debt that bears interest, that earns credits. They never graduate. They just ain’t ready. They’re building something in there, some- thing down there. Mutual debt, debt unpayable, debt unbounded, debt unconsolidated, debt to each other in a study group, to others in a nurses’ room, to others in a barber shop, to others in a squat, a dump, a woods, a bed, an embrace.
Those like me who pay attention to diversity in higher education call this work “invisible labor”—not because no one sees it but because institutions don’t value it with the currency they typically use to reward faculty work: reappointment, tenure, and promotion. Chances are a faculty member of color is not going to get a sabbatical or a grant from her institution because she contributes to the diversity mission her university probably has posted somewhere on its website. She certainly isn’t going to get tenure for it. https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/11/what-is-faculty-diversity-worth-to-a-university/508334/