Sacrificing a Latina/o Presence in the Professoriate: An Analysis of Affirmative Action as Racial Remedy and Silent Covenant

Michelle M. Espino


This article focuses on the extent to which affirmative action policies and practices as remedies for racial injustice in higher education reflect a silent covenant that sacrifices the cultivation and presence of Latina/o faculty. Drawing upon the lived experiences of 22 Mexican American faculty and post-doctoral fellows, the author argues that, by invoking affirmative action policies and practices, institutions of higher education can promote the value of racial/ethnic diversity while still limiting the presence of Latina/o faculty. Meanwhile, the few Latina/o faculty who manage to gain access to research-intensive universities are commodified and sacrificed within hostile department cultures and through oppressive institutional practices.

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