Single Still:  The Plight of the Over-Achieving Black Women

By Colleen Winn

So many of my cohort and sister friends are powerhouses in the board room; in their classrooms; in their designated work spaces; they hold audiences captivated as they craft thought-provoking and intellectual stimulating seminars and talks; they are corporate CEO’s; community builders; they lead movements; the brains behind the brawns; go-getters; the shark in the shark tank; they are degree laden; architects of higher thought; six figure makers; attractive; SINGLE…………

I am black, educated, confident, articulate, self-sufficient and I think this makes me sexy as hell but for now ….. I Am Single Still.

I am not espousing that singleness is a curse, a space that should only be held by the depraved and by the losers of our society who have nothing of substance to offer another human being. Nor am I judging or adding value to those who are seated at the perverbial table of equally yoked. The bible even speaks to “singleness” as a gift and a calling BUT a gift and calling of choice. The concept of CHOICE is critical and empowering!

I read recently in an article “today there’s a very significant number of professional Black women who have positioned themselves for success with BA’s, MD’s, as well as PhD’s but 70% of them are still without the more elusive title: ‘MRS” (https://blackliberationlovenunity.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/why-are-so-many-quality-black-women-single-today-part-1/)  When we consider the dwindling pool of eligible men,, based on a number of theorized or real factors, there is a certain bleakness that starts to suffocate even my “I am going to be alright” attitude. I intentionally did not use the descriptive “Black” because this is not just a lack of “Black men” issue. We ask ourselves over and over, what is wrong with Black men, White men, just men in general today.

Then we hold up the mirror and reflect that it must be us, you, me…..it has to be!

Maybe we are just too…

tooToo ________, too __________!

Maybe we are.  Ouch!!

Should we reembrace the anthem, “I can bring home the bacon, and fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget you’re a man … cause I’m a WOMAN” into our daily lives?

Maybe what makes us bad asses in the boardroom, makes us intimidating in the bedroom. Maybe we have forgotten how to translate and transfer those ambitious skills from one setting to the next. Maybe we have forgotten and despise what and how our mothers lived, loved, and prioritized more traditional lifestyles. Maybe we are…Maybe we have…Maybe we…Maybe…  Your Thoughts?

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Prioritizing Black Women’s Voices

by Victoria I. Brown

About a week ago, Stephanie McKellop, University of Pennsylvania Teaching Assistant (TA), came under fire for admitting that she calls on the Black women in her classroom first, then the people of color, and finally the White students in the classroom. Opponents of this practice have derided her for discriminating against students and detracting from the educational environment of the classroom.  However, I’d argue that prioritizing black women’s voices in this particular class setting contributes to the academic enrichment of all the students.

McKellop is not a mathematics TA. She is not explaining the clear-cut nuances of different formulas to her students. She teaches HIST-345: Sinners, Sex, and Slaves: Race and Sex in Early America – a topic that clearly impacts African American students on a much more personal level than POC or White students. African American students are likely to have personal narratives on how class topics are relevant to their families, their communities, and even their own sexual encounters. Given that certain students experience residual effect of sexualized violence in early America even today, it is critical to prioritize those students’ contributions. Furthermore, students in social science classes benefit immensely from hearing the personal narratives and subjective contributions from their peers. In a setting where all parties are not affected equally, all parties should not necessarily have equal speaking time. Finally, even if you don’t agree that this particular instance of asymmetrical class participation is good, you should consider class participation in other settings. Many times, Black students are overlooked in social science classes and drowned out by their non-black counterparts.

Yet there are some merits to the oppositions’ arguments. The most pressing is how one distinguishes the black students, especially in class which directly relates to the mixing of races over time. Perhaps in an effort to prioritize one black student, she is effectively silencing another lighter-skinned black student. Second is whether a student’s participation explicitly and implicitly affect their grade. Perhaps White students are receiving artificially deflated grades because they aren’t receiving an opportunity to speak up in class. Finally, some question the validity of McKellop’s intentions. Perhaps what she claims to be of the best interest for her students is actually just a perpetuation of White saviorism.

To be a Black woman in a Penn classroom is to live a contradiction. I am one of the few Black people in the room, and it feels as though everyone is always watching. I assume my classmates notice what I wear to class and what time I arrive. I’m sure that they take note of what I say, and pay particular attention to how I say it. Though, while I consistently feel like I am the object of everyone’s attention, I also feel invisible. Professors often overlook my hand for a lighter one in the back of the room. McKellop teaches a class that largely deals with Black women and their narratives. Considering my own personal experience, and the experience of other black women in academia, perhaps it may be a good idea to prioritize our comments, at least just this once.

To Kneel or Not To Kneel

I have written a few articles and opinion papers on community violence. Most recently, I have written on the impact of the shooting of unarmed Black men and brutality by police officers. This brutality and abuse has been headline news for some time. It permeates the lives of our families and neighbors. Most Black parents know the anxiety of wanting to make sure our children know how to respond if confronted by the police. I have told my children, their job is to make it home. It is not right! It is unfair! We know however that we have to teach our children because, a wrong step, move or word could mean their arrest or worse, injury or death.

When Colin Kapernick began his protest of the oppression of Black people and other people of color by not standing for the national anthem. I was proud of him. He was using his platform to make a statement. Before 2009, when the anthem was played, athletes were not required to stand or even suit up. Some are saying that he is disrespecting the flag or the military and that he, and any that do not stand, lack loyalty.  “Where is the loyalty to the Black men and women who supported a country that would not support them? The paradox of loyalty is that African American people love a country that does not love us. We pledge (to) the flag, drenched in blood, because we want something better” (https://newpittsburghcourieronline.com/2017/10/05/this-flag-is-drenched-in-blood/). And some, despite the history, still think better is possible here.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. there are bodies in the street and people…are getting away with murder.” – Colin Kaepernick

While Mr. Kapernick has sacrificed his career and relationships, his protest is bigger. He is standing for what he believes, his principles! His protest has made others take a stand against the injustice in America. The media and politicians can try to make this about something else, but WE know it is about inhumane treatment and continued inequalities in our communities.

After 300+ years, the national anthem continues to not be for us. In 1814, the song was written after a bloody battle at Fort McHenry when the British offered refuge and freedom to slaves who joined them. The British and those who joined them were defeated. Francis Scott key, upon seeing the flag still waving the next morning was inspired to write including the verse we don’t sing-

“No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the doom of the grave. And the star spangled banner in triumph doth wave. O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

So where does that leave us today?

I have traveled enough to know that I don’t want to give up the distinction of being an American citizen. However, this country has continuously and consistently made it clear that basic rights afforded to some in this country are not afforded to all. Frederick Douglas said, “Power concedes nothing without demand”. Our constitution gives us the right to demand justice. Mr. Kapernick’s protest is the beginning of a demand.

His protest makes people uncomfortable. Talking about race in America makes people, particularly White people, uncomfortable. We should talk anyway. We can’t change the past, but we need to acknowledge its existence, make amends if possible and ensure the past is not repeated.

#45 continues to tug at the societal and cultural fault lines in America and politics. He dog whistles with comments that incite white supremacists and their sympathizers. We have to recognize the dog whistle and decide we are not going to let that derail or distract us from our mission. it is our right to protest. It is our responsibility to stand for social justice and against inequality. it is not only the right and responsibility of people of color, it is the responsibility of all good people to stand against evil. If standing means sitting during the anthem to call attention to injustices, then I, too, will take a knee.

“The greatest tragedy in life is not the deeds of evil men, the greatest tragedy is the silence of good ones”, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Creation of Diversity

By Aminat Balogun

Diversity. We all know it and we all (with the exception of our shockingly active white supremacist neighbors) love it. It’s a supposed pillar of modern American society. This nation is a melting pot of cultures from all over the world, and it’s fair to say that we all benefit from this multiplicity.  Our cultural diversity brings us diverse religions, diverse fashions, and diverse cuisines.  It brings us a sense of inclusive community that many of our ancestors never had the chance to experience. As a college student, I think about this fact every day. After all, college campuses are some of the most diverse places in the world. As centers of intellectual exchange, they attract students and professors from every corner of this earth. It’s a wonderful thing really, living with and learning from so many people, from so many different backgrounds. It’s almost magical.

But there is still something so unnerving about the diversity we experience in our day to day lives. And this feeling is magnified ten times over on a college campus.  When I walk out of my dorm every morning, I see people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities living in harmony; sharing, talking, and learning together. But as beautiful as this sight is, I am always haunted by the same thought; the thought that we were all chosen to be here.  Each and every student on this campus was selected by a board of admissions officers, and though I would like to think that everyone was selected based only on their academic and professional merit, many of us were likely chosen (at least in some part) because of our culture and heritage. Are we here because we are Asian, we are Latinx, we are Black, but most importantly because we are the perfect agents of diversity?Without us, the university can’t meet its cultural quota and the oh-so-beloved image of diversity is lost.

I don’t mean to sound so bitter and pessimistic here. I am truly grateful for the educational opportunities that my university has given me. I also know that I and my colleagues are academically qualified and equipped to be here. But the concept of manufactured diversity is just too terrifying to ignore. On campuses and in offices all over the world, people of color must grapple with the idea that the diversity they see all around them, did not occur naturally. They must wrestle with the possibility that their race, rather than their intelligence or creativity, is the primary reason for their success. They must ignore the little voice that in their head that says “You’re only here because you’re Asian/Black/Latinx…” and they must work tirelessly to prove themselves to their colleagues. It’s a truly disturbing reality.

It’s scary to think that the diversity we all value so much is not our default setting as a society, but we must remember that, more often than not, diversity is something that is created. And it is not something created by our own hands, but by the hands of those who hold the power. It’s a tool used to enhance the moral status and appeal of a body of power and it is not always the wonderful, magical thing we perceive it to be.

But who’s to say we can’t claim diversity as our own and make it the wonderful, magical thing we want it to be? Who’s to say that we can’t disregard all the negative implications of a manufactured diversity and embrace our diversity and our strength? The answer is no one. And in the immortal words of Aibilleen Clark, “You is kind, you is smart, you is important.” And you is definitely not going to let a corrupted system of race relations get in your way of being the best that you can be.

Should We Conform

By Colleen Winn

She walked into my office and closed the door behind her. I sensed that whatever she had to say she needed to do it in privacy. I also noticed that her look was pensive, directive, and hyper serious. I didn’t know whether to hide under my desk or mirror the seriousness of the moment that she had created. What I did was greet the Center Director and sat back in my seat with a weird smile on my face that spoke more to my youth than to my mood. She was a leader who did not mind the fact that her subordinates called her Ms. B*!#@ behind her back.  She was building, crafting and creating a legacy of future leaders and the culture she had constructed was one built on “her” strict interpretation of professionalism.  Like it or leave it!!

My mind raced to preview what I could have done to warrant this visit but before the tapes finished playing in my head…..she spoke.  “Winn, I am sending you home to change into something appropriate to this setting. I know where you live so you have one hour to return to center.” I was outraged at being reprimanded for my dress. I was a 34 year old darn woman who had some working years behind me. No one had ever sent me home for my attire….no one. I dare you to be dismissive of my decision of what to wear. I never just roll out of bed and somehow just fall into my cloths. No, my attire….what I wear, I give priority and thought to. (I thought in my head). She had totally unarmed me.

I looked at her for a second and tried hard to fane a blank (I heard you but it really did not phase me) expression and picked up my purse and said, “I will be right back.” Since that incident occurred some time ago, I cannot honestly detail what I had on that day. It could have been pants that she felt were not professional teamed with a blouse that she felt was too “low cut” or it could have been a dress that she considered too short. Who knows; but what I did know is that if I wanted to succeed in this environment I had to determine what was appropriate and wear it for her. Okay, I was a bit of a slow learner, basically because of my obstinacy, but I did get the lesson without too many bruises.

On my way home and then back to center, I kept asking myself, what does my dress have to do with my work ethics and how brilliantly I perform at my job? I kept coming up with the response that it didn’t. I read recently in a Business Insider article that, “in the big picture of ultimate reality, what one wears neither defines who you are as a person nor determines your value as a human being.” Even though I have been known to push the boundaries and fight back at established mores, I have had to initially bow down to some fiercely imbedded realities, people judge us by the we walk, talk, look and how we look includes how we dress. I just hate that reality but humans are humans and known to be subjectively objective …. and ….. fair is not always “fair.”

I worked in that environment for 19 years. The last 14 years under several other directors and at times (with her not being at the helm), I would slip back into my way of interpreting what is professional attire. Just let me add that my interpretations have changed with time and growing and aging and metamorphosing. Life affects our ideals and our temporal belief systems. If you don’t agree, you are still young and testing the waters.

I now work in a different environment and climate. Being in higher education I witness so many different nuances of professional dress. In some environments on campus it is all about ones intellect and degrees. This appears to give credence to ones degree of self-expression. So I welcomed being in this environment of individual expression and artistic interpretation. Dress is art, right? So I self-expressed.

I again had the talk……”in the workplace especially, clothing influences how others perceive and respond to you.” So we are back to a perceived reality …. back to where I started  this conversation. Perception is everything; whether you hate this reality or not. What we wear stands out in the minds of others. It is an indicator of how well adjusted we are, of how we are able to interpret the culture, and how we play by the rules. Are we always looking to bend them or can we conform to the established order? It drives others perception of our intelligence, trustworthiness, success rating, and suitability for promotion and advancement. Have I just happily jumped on the band wagon? Not really, without much inner turmoil, but at times a lot can be said about conformity.

I did feel a sense of relief when I visited the Comcast Center here in Philadelphia, where many of the offices are highly efficient despite the lack of a strict dress code. Business casual has become the new business formal and weekend wear is the new business casual. For some working environments more emphasis is being placed on productivity than “lookability.”  But for now I will ride the wave with the 1990’s research that correlates clothes with being smarter. Dr. Adam D. Galinsky, professor at Northwestern s Kellogg School of Management, coined the phrase “enclothed cognition.” His test findings concluded that “cloths invade the body and brain, putting the wearer into a different psychological state and makes others think you’re smarter.” For now, when I want to feel the “power”, I will suit up. When I feel powerful enough to push the confines of normalized organizational behavior, I will wear fish nets or black panty hose.

Art for Social Change

“Southern trees bear strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees”

When you hear this song or read these lyrics, you can’t help but feel the eeriness of seeing a body hanging from a tree. The music, the words, Billie Holiday’s voice paint an image so clearly that you are almost transported to that place. This is an example of art being used to promote social change. First recorded in 1939, it was written in 1937 as a poem to protest the lynchings of African-Americans. While the lynchings peaked at the turn of the century, they still continue to happen, even today. Art can be used to increase awareness of injustice and as a form of protest. Art can move you and help you to connect to others to develop empathy and to understand each other’s experiences. Art, such as poetry, songs and dramatic presentation can be used to examine social issues, promote social change, and enhance positive self-esteem. See, that’s the benefit of art! Artivism (Art used for activism) is so powerful! No matter who you are and what your experience, art can help you to see things from another point of view.

It can also help those who are oppressed to process what they are going through and to begin to heal. Similar to narrative counseling theories, the telling of your story in prose, poetry, song, or monologue helps one to deconstruct experiences and increases awareness of hidden elements (Sanders, 2011).

“Pastoral scene of the gallant south
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh”

A few years ago, while going through a difficult time, a friend began to write her feelings and before long she had a book of poems/prose she created to express what she was feeling. She said, she didn’t know why but it made her feel better, stronger even, to get her thoughts on paper. The healing power of words in art form is known to most. Using poetry and art for expression or healing is common (Raab, 2013). It is even being used by medical practitioners and in medical schools (Coulehan & Clary, 2005; Holmes & Gregory, 1998).

“Here is fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop”

I used this song from the 1930’s but artists continue to release protests songs, plays, poems and visual arts today. Because of the internet, they are reaching a broader audience. There are many artists who uses their medium to promote social justice. Here are a few:

  • Akosua Adoma Owusu, a Ghanian film maker who uses her medium to evoke conversations between Africa and America;
  • Justyne Fischer, whose artwork expresses the grief, anger and sorrow of the murders of unarmed Black men; and
  • Jeff Stetson, a writer whose play, “The Meeting”, imagines a conversation between Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcom X at the height of the Civil Rights Movement

I close with the lyrics from TI’s “We will not” in protest to the shooting of unarmed Black men and to ask the community to stand against injustices in Black communities:

“No we will not stand here in silence
While they take the lives of our brothers and sisters and partners.
We will not turn a blind eye to the murder with no repercussions.
No we will not
We will not live on our knees, we will die on our feet
This ain’t no lie that I speak”

No, We Will Not!

Do you have a story, song or poem in you that needs to be told for your healing or to inspire social justice? I encourage you to find your “artivist” voice and create!!

(Cover image and other work by Justyne Fischer can be found at http://www.justynefischer.com/home)

I’m not “Crazy”

2016 Minority MH Prevalance Infographics-Black AA
Link

I know from personal experience just how very important it is to prioritize black mental health. I have experienced symptoms of depression and anxiety since my sophomore year in high school (that’s about a decade now), and have only really understood what that meant and how it has affected me in the past two. I was never diagnosed officially, never sought diagnosis because I felt such shame about how I was feeling for the longest time.

I thought: “Just pull yourself together; just be better. Why are you doing this to yourself ? Just choose to be happy. You’re not crazy.” Continue reading “I’m not “Crazy””

Black Female Representation in Mainstream Media

The topic of black women in mainstream media is very salient one. Just recently Hollywood has been buzzing with the movie Girls Trip, raking in a cool $30.4 million in its weekend debut. The movie is said to be the funniest comedy of the year, and while it is incredibly lighthearted this film’s depiction of black women carries a lot of weight. Very rarely are black women, especially black women that are 30+ yrs of age, shown to be fun-loving and carefree. They haven’t been given the space to have narratives like that. Similarly, black women are rarely given the screen-time to express, and have full agency in, their sexuality. This film does both!

Historically, (with the exclusion of tv and films largely viewed and marketed toward black audiences, many of which aired in the 90s – think Living Single, A Different World, etc.) mainstream media has given black women very restricted roles to play. We are often relegated to the “mammy” or “jezebel” stereotypes. The mammy is dehumanized and devalued as a lesser intelligent, and often humorous, character. The jezebel’s dehumanization happens through her hyper-sexualization. She’s the lure, the beguiling homewrecker that draws men into her trap, destroying “good” (read: white) marriages and “good” (read: white) families.

Even contemporary depictions of black women tend to fall into this tired trope, one such example being Scandal. Many could say that Olivia Pope is one of the most empowering black female roles we’ve seen in recent mainstream television. Yet and still, her relationship with the president, a white man, is shown to break apart his marriage and be a risk to the continued success of the country as a whole (seeing as Fitz is shown to, time and again, run away from his duties to be with Olivia). His wife is still the victim, and Olivia is still a villain, not given the rights or respect she deserves as his long time lover.

Black women are often portrayed as one dimensional characters, painted with broad strokes. One of the better portrayals of a black woman I have found that defies the mammy stereotype is Annalise in “How to Get Away with Murder”. Annalise is a middle aged black woman, well established as a high powered lawyer (which is, in itself, immediately defiant of expectations). She is incredibly intelligent, ruthless, and cutting. She cheats and uses people, and she does it in a world where that is expected and venerated. Far from falling into the “overly passionate angry black woman” stereotype , she is portrayed as calculating, almost cold.

However, she is also vulnerable at times; she gets hurt, she gets tired, she cries. She is at once cunning, conniving, and compassionate, at least to some. She’s given the space to be all of this, and more still, a sexual being with agency.

See, Annalise also happens to be bisexual, and is shown in canonical sexual relationships with both men and women. In both situations she knows what she wants and is able to express it. She isn’t desexualized in the least, which would be expected for a character in her age range. Whatever my other issues with the show, and the show’ s other characters, Annalise remains one of the most candid and complex black female characters I have seen in mainstream media, period, and I applaud HTGAWM (and Viola Davis) for that.

Black actresses have a difficult time finding roles in Hollywood because people in the business still buy into these stereotypes of type casting. Yet, it is so important that we have dynamic representation. Not only for those young women looking out into the world to see positive images of themselves reflected back at them, but also to challenge long held stereotypes of what black women are and who black women can be.

I’m glad for Girls Trip’s success and hope that we see much more success like it in the near future.

Silencing Black Girls: A Texas Schoolgirl’s Story

silencing-black-girls_
Silencing Black Girls (Link)

Colleen Winn

I am a child of the sixties and seventies with my social consciousness starting to take cognizance by the late 70’s. My experiences with my surroundings were colored and shielded by the lenses created by my parents which were in direct opposition to each other. My world was monochromatic and the effect of our relationships were nuanced by our social, educational, and gender stature.

The fallout from the U.S. Supreme Courts 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision had not really trickled down to many of the schools in Texas so they remained virtually segregated. Rather they were equal or not, I had no sound basis for comparison. My reality was not affected by the debate of equal access or separate but equal. My reality was affected by the fact that I was growing up in the 5th Ward section of Houston, Texas and even more real; I was growing up in the “projects.” I realized years later that teachers, and others not from this reality, saw me as damaged goods with not much of a prosperous future.

Continue reading “Silencing Black Girls: A Texas Schoolgirl’s Story”

A Fish in Shark Infested Waters

Campus, to me, is like a small town where you speak to others you pass. I speak to every face I see if I make eye contact. Sometimes they respond. Sometimes they smile. Sometimes they look right through me. I seek familiar, friendly faces. I seek faces that without saying the words, say “I see you and I feel you.” Then a face appears and sometimes, it looks like me and other times, it looks nothing like what I thought it would look like. I am a fish. I am a fish swimming in shark infested waters. Sometimes there are schools of like minded fish. Sometimes, there are sharks. Sometimes what looks like a fish can act like a shark. Sometimes what looks like a shark is just a big fish!

As an administrator at an Ivy League institution, I swim in the deep end of the ocean. I LOVE to swim. No, that’s not true. I LOVE to relax in the water and float around not worried about anything. There are other fish frolicking in the ocean. We’re having fun. We’re learning, we’re growing, expanding our territory. I assume there are no predators around to harm me. Most people don’t want to swim with sharks! Occasionally, however, I see the glint of shark teeth in a meeting and I am reminded of where I am. I am reminded that there are schools of fish who will not welcome me. There are predators who will harm me. There are even fish like me that will sacrifice me for their cause.

Being black and a woman and an academic is a metaphysical dilemma. — Ntozake Shange (2015)

We all have multiple identities with multiple benefits and multiple challenges. There isn’t a critical mass of Black and Brown people, let alone, Black women in academia.  “In fall 2015, of all full-time faculty at degree-granting post-secondary institutions, 42 percent were White males, 35 percent were White females, 6 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander males, 4 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander females, 3 percent each were Black females and Black males, and 2 percent each were Hispanic males and Hispanic females” (https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_csc.asp). Because of the scarcity of others who look like us, because Black women continue to “face questions of intelligence, competence, and legitimacy” (http://digitalcommons.uncfsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1013&context=jri), It can often feel like we are swimming in shark infested waters. It is important that we seek alliances and support not only from those who look like us but from those with whom we can find common ground.

So how do you survive in the shark infested waters in academia? Here are some tips

  1. Do your research! – Don’t just dive in without knowing what’s in the water. Do your homework. Where can you go to find people with similar interest to yours? Are there groups on campus that offer support/advice to newbies? On my campus, I quickly found a women of color group. The women I met there helped me to navigate the waters and to avoid any situations that may have harmed me. Which brings me to number 2.
  2. Use the buddy system. – Everything is better when you have someone to share it with who understands your experience. Also, it is never a bad thing to have another set of eyes to watch your back. When I first started teaching, I found another professor who taught the class. We compared notes, shared ideas, and discussed what worked and what didn’t work. We both grew as a result!
  3. Ask questions! – Find a diver experienced and familiar with the water you are diving into and seek their advice. In academia, we call this person a mentor. A mentor is a person who has an interest in your career and professional development. A “guide on the side” who can help you chart your path to success. Remember your mentor doesn’t have to be a fish like you! Ask them questions. Seek their advice. Your mentor has survived the waters. It will be helpful to know how they did it!
  4. Sharpen your teeth. – Sharks rarely attack without warning. Learn and recognize warning signs. Don’t be afraid to show your teeth! Sometimes letting a shark know that you can be a formidable opponent will ward off a full attack.
  5. Jump in! – Swimming with sharks cannot all be learned by reading. You have to jump in! You must practice swimming to develop your skill! You have to be in meetings, join committees, and find a school of fish to swim with. In short time, you will be the buddy and the mentor to someone else new to the shark infested waters of academia.