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UnCommon Bonds

Women Reflect on Race and Friendship


Edited By Kersha Smith and Marcella Runell Hall

UnCommon Bonds is a collection of essays written by women representing multiple identities; all uniquely addressing the impactful experiences of race, ethnicity, and friendship in the context of the United States. The essays unapologetically explore the challenges of developing and maintaining cross-racial friendships between women. A primary goal of this book is to resist simplifying cross-racial friendships. Instinctively, the editors believe that there is a unique joy and pain in these relationships that is rarely easy to summarize. The essays reflect narratives that challenge assumptions, disclose deep interpersonal struggles, and celebrate the complex sisterhood between women across racial lines.

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Chapter 12: Black, White, and Brown: A Collaborative Autoethnography Analyzing the Race and Friendship of Three Women in Academia (S. Lenise Wallace / Eman Mosharafa / Joni Schwartz)


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A Collaborative Autoethnography Analyzing the Race and Friendship of Three Women in Academia

S. Lenise Wallace, Eman Mosharafa, and Joni Schwartz


Women’s friendships can be empowering and establish bonds of sisterhood that are unique. Perhaps even more unique are women’s interracial workplace friendships. This chapter addresses the friendship that has evolved between three women in academia, a Black Latina, a white, and an Egyptian whose relationship, as fellow faculty members, created deep bonds and the foundation for potentially long-lasting friendships. Researchers agree that women are more likely to see the advantages of workplace friendships and more likely than their male counterparts to describe workplace friendships as emotionally and socially beneficial (Morrison, 2009). Furthermore, Settles, Pratt-Hyatt, and Buchanan (2008) found that “Black and White women view womanhood as comprising many of the same broad components: gender-based mistreatment, perceived advantages, community and friendships, and caretaking” (p. 463). Employed at a college in the northeastern region of the United States, the women featured in this chapter formed a friendship that resulted in working on several projects professionally, celebrating personal milestones, and supporting each other through tragedies and disappointments. Additionally, the chapter focuses on their candid conversations around race and cultural barriers while establishing trust and sisterhood. ← 113 | 114 →

Utilizing autoethnography, each woman defined race and friendship and described how these constructs apply to their friendship. The autoethnographers and friends are: Shaunee who...

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