Academics have a term “imposter syndrome”
…a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.[1} –wikipedia
or more simply from Merriam Webster
Imposter one that assumes false identity or title for the purpose of deception
I don’t believe in imposter syndrome, for people of color.
Am I, are you, are we, imagining that we don’t fit-in and to boot overcame all the obstacles that were created to keep people like you, like me, out? If we wonder how we despite it all, still were able to “make it”, I am not sure this is part of an imagined idea that we weren’t made for this space—let me be clear, we were not made for this space. This space was not designed for us, much less for us to succeed.
We are in a system that was created to exclude us and yet we made it in? Were we allowed in not necessarily via a false identity but an “acceptable identity” to academia? I play a role in academics, where I cannot be too angry, not articulate enough, not too articulate, not a lot of things. I cannot be me without consequence. A consequence white people don’t face in the same way, and never have.
I dislike the idea of imposter syndrome because it is the idea that I’ve imagined I don’t belong, it is gas-lighting my experience.
Why would I belong to an institution that is built on both the exclusion and exploitation of my people? Why do I belong in a place where I have to ask if we can learn any theory at all not from a white person, especially when I am in a field that studies Black and Brown bodies?
How can I acknowledge white supremacy and at the same time be told that I do belong to this institution, that any feelings I have of not belonging are fraudulent? I don’t belong in academia as it was and is. It wasn’t made for me, and it wasn’t designed for me to achieve greatness.
And yet I do succeed, we do succeed! That is the amazing part! We exist in a space that attempts to strip us of our humanity. We aren’t suffering in delusion that maybe we don’t belong or this place isn’t’ for us. It wasn’t made for us–we exist in the margins. I can go weeks on my campus never seeing a Latinx man, or a Black woman, why is that? Why has it been like that?
Instead of imposters, I’d like to think of us as disrupters. We don’t suffer from imposter syndrome. We triumph while swimming in their white supremacy. We succeed and create paths via our disruption. We didn’t come here to repeat their roles, to belong to their colonized theories, we came to agitate, and take up space; we are disruptors. I am a disruptor.