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Intersectionality & Higher Education

Theory, Research, & Praxis

Donald Jr. Mitchell, Charlana Simmons and Lindsay A. Greyerbiehl

Intersectionality is a term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989. A scholar of law, critical race theory, and Black feminist thought, Crenshaw used intersectionality to explain the experiences of Black women who – because of the intersections of race, gender, and class – are exposed to exponential forms of marginalization and oppression. Intersectionality & Higher Education documents and expands upon Crenshaw’s ideas within the context of U.S. higher education. The text includes theoretical and conceptual chapters on intersectionality; empirical research using intersectionality frameworks; and chapters focusing on intersectional practices. The volume may prove beneficial for graduate programs in ethnic studies, higher education, sociology, student affairs, and women and gender studies alike.
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Chapter Eleven: Raw Tongue: How Black Women and Latinas Bring Their Multiple Identities into Collegiate Classrooms


← 122 | 123 → CHAPTER ELEVEN

How Black Women and Latinas Bring Their Multiple Identities into Collegiate Classrooms


If one considers the intersecting identities of race, socioeconomic status, and gender in relation to verbal participation in classrooms, a number of feminist and educational scholars suggest that women of color employ voice and silence differently than White women (Anzaldúa, 1990; Blue, 2001; Collins, 2000; Fordham, 1993; Gilmore, 1997; hooks, 1989; Hurtado, 1996; Lorde; 1984; Luke, 1994). Unlike some White women, a number of women of color deliberately adopt voice and silence as methods of knowledge acquisition and/or resistance within classrooms (Hurtado, 1996). Although verbal participation and silence within a classroom have the potential to function as a process of knowledge acquisition and learning for women of color, women of color must constantly be aware of what they say and how they speak within classroom settings, because of the visible markers of race and gender (Hurtado, 1996; Luke, 1994; Winkle-Wagner, 2009). Because voice and silence have come to occupy vitally important places in U.S. educational systems (Kim & Markus, 2005), and voice is linked to effective learning in classrooms for women (Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, & Tarule, 1986; Hayes, 2000; Hurtado, 1996), this chapter explores how voice and silence, especially for Black women and Latinas, are never neutral or without meaning in collegiate classrooms.

The chapter focuses on undergraduate Black women and Latinas because racial and gender stereotypes, institutional climate, admissions criteria, socioeconomic...

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