In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, masks are intended to keep us safe; however, the intentional wearing of masks and the unintended consequences may not be understood by all. Facial coverings have long been connected with racial profiling and concerns about threatening behavior from those who are wearing them. The combination of masks, physical (social) distancing, race, gender, and class place some of our students, faculty and staff at risk not just from COVID-19, but from a system of social injustice.
Masks create fear and anxiety for both marginalized and dominant groups due to biases that individuals carry about what a mask could represent. For many people of color, like myself, we want you to know that you don’t have to worry about locking your doors or scurrying away quickly, because the mask evokes fear in us just as it may create fear in you.
-Dr. Kristina Marshall, Director of Human Services Programs for Baker College
Recently, Baker College and the Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council sponsored a national panel by NCORE, moderated by Dr. Kristina Marshall, that discussed privilege, colorism, and concerns some students, faculty and staff of color may face this fall regarding the unintended challenges that wearing a mask bears on people of color. This enlightening session can be found on NCORE’s Youtube Channel under the title: NCORE Webinar Series- July 2020- Behind the Masks: Uncovering assumptions, biases and stereotypes.