Latin@ Student Experiences of Race, Access, and Belonging at Predominantly White Universities
Chapter 4. “Race Shouldn’t’ Matter, but It Does”
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Racial Selves, Identities, and Belonging
This chapter explores the ways in which Antonio and Mario experienced and perceived “race” and belonging as they transitioned to CMU. These perceptions and experiences are inseparable from their identities during this time of transition; and part and parcel of their own identities are the ways in which their peers perceived and responded to them vis-à-vis race. Indeed, the notion of race is woven throughout all the participants’ transitions to college. It is, for example, in the fabric that contains their experience of K-12 schooling, access to certain forms of capital, and changing family relationships while becoming college students, all discussed throughout this book. It is inextricably tied to the participants’ experiences with as well as the design of the college access and support programs specifically addressed in Chapters 2 and 3. And it is of course omnipresent in the ways in which the students faced racism at CMU, explicitly examined in Chapter 5. While there are certainly other facets to their identities and personal experiences, it was race that repeatedly came to the foreground of my conversations with the students, no doubt in part because of their minority status at a predominantly White university.
Before delving into the students’ experiences with race, however, it is necessary to define the very concept of “race.” The notion that race is a ← 75 | 76 → social construct created to...
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