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The New Guard

Professor: ‘It Has Never Been Safe for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and People of Color to Work at a University’

By

Julia Johnson

July 19, 2023

Joseph M. Pierce, an associate professor at Stony Brook University, tweeted Tuesday, “It has never been safe for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and People of Color to work at a university.”

“So why would we trust it to be ‘safe’ now?” he continued.

According to both his Twitter and website, Pierce is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. It is unclear why he would then choose to work somewhere he believes to be historically dangerous for minorities.

In an earlier tweet, he said, “Let us imagine: an institution, say a university, has historically (for its entire history) privileged the class, racial, gender, and social order that upholds white supremacy. And then, let us imagine, that institution says that it ‘promises’ it is safe to return to work.”

Stony Brook’s website lists Pierce as an associate professor in the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literature. “His research focuses on the intersections of kinship, gender, sexuality, and race in Latin America, 19th-century literature and culture, queer studies, Indigenous studies, and hemispheric approaches to citizenship and belonging.”

Despite the obvious irony of a Cherokee Nation citizen professor claiming that universities are unsafe for indigenous professors, it’s also pretty laughable that today’s universities could be considered dangerous for anyone–given the fact that they have literal “safe spaces,” after all.

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