Much racial progress has occurred in the academic world since the dark days of legalized racial segregation in the U.S. For example, we currently have a two term black president, and three of the 2016 GOP presidential candidates are ethnic minorities (one African-American and two Latinos).

Yet, it is apparent black and brown conservatives are generally held to a different standard, and are often treated more harshly by those on the left in comparison to black and brown moderates or liberals.

Most recently, this reality has become apparent to many by how certain media outlets have relentlessly worked to castigate Dr. Ben Carson; seemingly because he’s a black conservative and refuses to lick the boots of the secular media to gain credibility.

Temporary Security
In addition, a similar castigation of black and brown conservatives is evident in certain kinds of academic theological institutions. Some schools with no or minimal theological commitments in some cases might be eager to hire conservative black or brown scholars in the name of diversity. And these schools might even temporarily tolerate their conservative ideas in order to meet their institutional quota.

However, conservative black and brown professors may eventually find themselves in disfavor with certain kinds of institutions that do not share their conservative ideas, especially as higher education and theological education continue to drift away from traditional doctrinal teachings.

As a result, regardless of the amount of academic credentials, scholarship contributions, publications, classroom effectiveness, faithful years of service, and popularity of these professors with students, there are certain colleges, universities, divinity schools, and seminaries (with white, black, or brown leadership) that may look for ways to get rid of the conservative black or brown professors.

Race Influences
To justify this dismissal, the administration might attempt to victimize themselves, and claim the reason is to protect the institution’s academic freedom from right-winged, fundamentalist conservatives. Certain institutions may offer this argument in spite of the fact the administration may refuse to protect the academic freedom of the very black or brown conservative professors whom they dismiss in the service of protecting academic freedom.

Consequently, conservative black and brown scholars need to understand race influences the academy in at least two ways in certain kinds of academic institutions. Race may, in some cases, get black and brown scholars jobs. But race may, likewise, negatively affect how certain institutions recruit, retain, promote, and dismiss black and brown faculty.

Thus, conservative black and brown evangelical scholars should keep at least the following five things in mind as they pursue a ministry of scholarship in some academic institutions.

Budget Cuts and White Guilt
First, certain colleges, universities, divinity schools, and seminaries may temporarily hire and tolerate conservative black and brown professors, as long as they make money for the institution.
If the presence of black or brown professors increases black and brown enrollment or the budget, certain schools will keep these conservatives on faculty.

But, as soon as black and brown enrollment in particular or student enrollment in general drops, or when the budget is cut, less conservative institutions, whose ideas contradict the conservative ideas of the black and brown faculty, may look for a way to get rid of conservative black and brown professors.

Second, some of the white administration are eaten up with white guilt. They may hire conservative black or brown faculty primarily because of Affirmative Action. They also may want to rid their consciences of the guilt inherited from their white ancestors’ involvement in and from their personal benefits of the enslavement and oppression of black and brown people.

But, when certain institutions think conservative black and brown ideas are not black or brown enough, or are the minority amongst other black or brown groups (e.g. with the less conservative white, black, and brown supporters of the institution), these institutions may begin to muzzle and socially ostracize conservative black and brown faculty. They may also slander them.

Work Ethic
Third, certain colleges, universities, divinity schools, and seminaries are less likely to accept conservative black and brown professors as equal peers. They also may be less likely to share institutional privilege and power with them at the university not only because they’re black or brown, but also conservatives.

Fourth, conservative black and brown scholars may generally need to work harder than their white liberal colleagues at those same institutions to: publish, teach faithfully, impact and mentor students, serve and represent the institution impeccably well, be a good and amiable colleague, be involved and network in professional societies in their academic disciplines, and build their resumes.

The reason is simple: certain kinds of institutions, on the one hand, will claim to be progressive on race relations and academic freedom, while, on the other hand, they will retain certain white faculty over black and brown conservative faculty, because of their conservative ideas.

A rigorous work ethic and scholastic productivity will open opportunities for black and brown conservative scholars to serve at more conservative institutions and will help protect the black and brown conservative faculty from slanderous charges of “incompetence” or “Affirmative Action hire”.

Prompting Racial Progress
Fifth, I’m cautiously optimistic black and brown conservative scholars will find a home at conservative institutions if they are properly vetted, proven, published, and if they hold a PhD in a core academic discipline. Therefore, more black and brown conservatives should pursue a PhD in classical and core academic disciplines and should write prolifically in order to take part in the necessary institutional, racial progress that still needs to take place in many conservative institutions.

May God help all aspiring and current conservative black and brown professors; you matter.