“You’ll never make it”

Posted: November 4, 2010 by Jender in Maleness of philosophy, whiteness of philosophy

This happened a few years ago.

When I was an undergrad in philosophy I attended a liberal arts grad school fair. There happened to be a female philosopher there who was recruiting for her university. She wanted to meet with me to discuss my research interests, etc. When I told her that I was interested in contemporary analytic philosophy, she lowered her head and fell silent for a moment. When she raised her head to look at me she told me that I would “never make it”. She explained that analytic philosophy would just be too hard and cruel for someone like me (I am a woman and a minority after all). She suggested that I switch to continental and do work in philosophy of race or feminist philosophy (never mind that at the time I had no interest in working in these areas). She then proceeded to guess (incorrectly) at my ethnicity for the rest of the interview. After meeting with her, I felt smaller than a speck of dust.

However, I didn’t let her ignorant and bigoted remarks deter me from philosophy, from applying to grad school, nor from pursuing my interests in contemporary analytic philosophy. I am currently a PhD student doing work in mainstream analytic and feminist philosophy. I came to feminist philosophy out of my love for and personal commitment to feminism. Feminist philosophy is not the only option for me; rather, it is the option that is most desirable to me.

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