TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — I HAVE never been big on titles. Many people I interact with outside my job don’t even know that I am a professor, or that I have a doctoral degree. When I introduce myself in public, I’m Carlotta Berry.
But when I introduce myself in the classroom, I’m Dr. Berry. And I insist on being Dr. Berry.
Titles in the academy are inconsistent at best. I have colleagues who would prefer to be called by their first name, or nicknames like “Bone Saw.” But they are mostly men, and almost all white, and they have that luxury. As an African-American woman in a mostly Caucasian- and male-dominated field, I don’t.