Theory, Research, & Praxis
Edited By Donald Jr. Mitchell, Jakia Marie and Tiffany Steele
Chapter Two: Racial Privilege, Gender Oppression, and Intersectionality
← 19 | 20 → CHAPTER TWO
CLAIRE KATHLEEN ROBBINS AND STEPHEN JOHN QUAYE
In higher education, student affairs professionals work with college students in multiple settings to promote student learning, engagement, and development. Although students of color represent a growing proportion of the contemporary college-going population, the majority of the student affairs profession remains White and female (Olson, 2010; Renn & Jessup-Anger, 2008; Taub & McEwen, 2006; Tull, 2006). Practitioners and scholars have been right to insist on the need to recruit and retain more people of color and members of other historically underrepresented groups in the profession (Olson, 2010; Renn & Jessup-Anger, 2008). Still, educators too rarely scrutinize the structures of power and privilege (Brookfield, 2005; Johnson, 2006), especially White privilege, that undergird the historical underrepresentation of people of color in student affairs (Bondi, 2012). Remaining silent about White privilege in student affairs “may unwittingly contribute to the universalization of Whiteness, and consequently, the marginalization of non-White racial identities” (Ortiz & Rhoads, 2000, p. 81) in the profession.
One way to disrupt the universalization of Whiteness in student affairs is to facilitate racial consciousness among White professionals in general, and White women in particular, given their overrepresentation in the field. Ortiz and Rhoads (2000) found that for White student affairs professionals, developing racial consciousness requires coming to terms with one’s White identity. Students in higher education and student affairs (HESA) graduate preparation programs may study theories of White racial consciousness and identity (e.g., Hardiman, 2001;...
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