The Bryan Times,

Identity politics is when people are selected for a position based on their race or sex. I agree with Martin Luther King, who wrote: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” When looking for a university position, I went to Chicago where academic deans and doctorate candidates connect. After noting job postings that fit my experience and education, I journeyed to meet with the proper deans. While waiting to be interviewed, several times deans from other universities would come in and ask, “have any Blacks or women Ph.D.s looking for positions?” Here I was, a White male hoping for interviews. I did not have a single interview, but one dean gave me a tape recorder to dictate my qualifications to pass on to his department.

Not one dean asked me about my 886-page doctoral dissertation we raised $1.2 million to complete. I did have a good visit with Dr. William York of Bowling Green State University (BGSU). When I left, I met with my fellow Wayne State University Doctoral students, all Blacks and females, who had not only interviewed for positions, but several had appointments for on-campus interviews. As I was driving home to my wife and young son in Detroit, I remember being very depressed. My thought was “now what am I going to do to support my family?” I had nine years invested in my education and wondered if it would ever pay off.

A few weeks before classes began at BGSU, I was called for an interview and was hired as a professor shortly thereafter. A few days later I was called by other universities for interviews, but told them I just signed a contract with BGSU. Later, I asked why BGSU waited months until just before classes began to interview me, and was told they were under pressure to hire minorities. The minorities they interviewed had offers at much better universities, so they were forced to consider a qualified non-minority, me. A few years later the first Black professor was hired in my department, Dr. John Newby. We had a lot in common, and I was closer to him than any other faculty. Then and now, all groups are protected by law except White males.

Dr. Jerry Bergman

Montpelier

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