True Fact: In a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article on diversity/inclusion challenges at the University of Iowa, an anonymous staff member observed that finding a partner can be difficult for a single person of color in a largely white environment.
A significant problem, to be sure. But a little creativity can go a long way….
Consider, for example, the University of Maine at Orono, a school located in one of the whitest states in the nation. Beginning in September 2020, any faculty member of color who has been at the University for at least two years without finding a partner of color will be provided, free of charge, with a white spouse.
According to University spokesperson Henrietta Kayak-Pine, “we’re not talking about connecting you with some random white person who’s been living alone in a yurt at Baxter State Park for the past decade, subsisting on alpine bearberry leaves and pond algae. These folks will be thoroughly vetted professionals who’ll bring something of value to the relationship. White people can make fine spouses, as long as you choose them carefully. Sure, my husband Earl is an absolute jerk, but that’s not because he’s white, it’s because he’s a guy. His idea of a night out for the two of us is sitting in our Ski-Doo in the driveway during a blizzard, eating Slim Jims and listening to a Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band on his transistor radio.
“All of the spouses provided by the Orono program will be graduates of a three-week summer training institute that focuses on how to be a good husband or wife, both inside and outside of the bedroom. And you’ll know their score on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) before meeting them. I’m just sorry that Earl never had the opportunity to participate in this training. We’d both be a lot happier, and I probably wouldn’t have shot him in the leg last winter.
“Let’s be honest. Although the racial demographics of the United States are shifting dramatically, Maine is likely to remain 95% white until at least the year 3000. Convincing people of color to come to a place where 15% of the population marry caribou, and the state dessert is snow-on-a-stick, is not easy to accomplish. We must do more.”
Indeed, you must.