I don’t know if I am white or “of color.” I was born in South America, am fairly light-skinned, don’t think of race or ethnicity very much at all, and have never felt any sense of discrimination in the field. I am tenured and went smoothly enough through the PhD, I suppose. At least it was as smooth as it seemed to be for most of us going through the program.
The worst it got for me was being called a spic as a kid, but that kind of stuff rolled off my back after a while. It doesn’t hurt me now to think about it and I can’t say that it ever did hurt me much. I suppose I just toughened up pretty quickly. That was a benefit of growing up Hispanic in L.A. In the early 80s, I would say: you’d encounter various anti-Hispanic sentiments here and there, of course. Maybe that inured me.
As a result, or perhaps for other reasons, I have nothing negative to say about how philosophy has treated me. I tend to think of it as nothing but me engaged with a book or an idea, so I don’t really care about social slights to begin with. If they happen I tend to be clueless and fail to notice them, and I’m sure they undoubtedly happen to others who are deeply affected by them. I can’t say that those experiences are wrong, but I don’t want others to try to convince me that my experience has been wrong. I just have a real hard time relating to most of these stories.
Yesterday I was reading something by Kirchheimer, one of the “minor” critical theorists associated with the Frankfurt School. It was fun. What else matters, really? If I socialized much and I cared about social relations then I might grow concerned with issues of race. But I don’t, so I probably won’t. I’ll just hit the books and enjoy the ideas. Isn’t that why one becomes a philosopher, whether brown or white?