'There is integration of racism in routine practices'


Everyday racism and cultural cloning

“Everyday racism is the integration of racism in routine practices of everyday life. As a form of exclusion and oppression it works through and in relation to gender, class, sexual orientation, and other domination systems.”

The last time Philomena Essed spoke in Leiden was in 1984. Back then she gave a speech about her book ‘Everyday racism’. Today, the focus of her work is on racism, gender, leadership and dignity. For the last ten years she has been Professor of Critical Race, Gender and Leadership Studies at Antioch University in the United States. She came back to Leiden for the symposium on Diversity and Inclusion to talk about everyday racism, cultural cloning and persistent inequalities in higher education.

Being a complete person

“The notion of ‘being a complete person’ that Philomena Essed talks about is very important. Universities have to be aware of making that possible for their students and staff. Everybody should be able to feel comfortable with who they are.”

Eline Pollaert, student

Don’t get in a heated debate

“The concept of empathy is very inspiring. It’s important that everybody feels free to be their true selves. Nobody else should force you to act differently from the way you are. Besides that, it’s important that there are tools for speaking about differences without getting into a heated debate.”


Patricia Leita, promovenda at Leiden Universities

A change of mentality

“It’s shocking that 80% of the professors at Leiden University are men. What kind of hiring process does the university have? A diverse staff empowers people and encourages all students to be part of the academic community, so I think it’s time for a change of mentality. Diverse role models are absolutely crucial.”

Praveen Sewgobind, Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society