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Intersectionality & Higher Education

Theory, Research, & Praxis

Edited By Donald Jr. Mitchell, Jakia Marie and Tiffany Steele

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 Fifteen: Black ≠ Poor: Understanding the Influence of Class on Black Students’ Educational Outcomes

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Understanding the Influence of Class on Black Students’ Educational Outcomes

MARJORIE L. DORIMÉ-WILLIAMS

The plight of poor or low-income minorities, particularly Black individuals, has received a great deal of attention from scholars (e.g., Boyington, Johnson, & Carter-Edwards, 2007; Engberg & Allen, 2011; King, 2010; Moynihan, 1965; Parks-Yancy, 2012; Peskin, Tortolero, Markham, Addy, & Baumler, 2007) in various fields of inquiry (e.g., education, sociology, health). Relatively little extant research focuses on the experiences of middle-income and upper-income Black individuals in the United States. This scarcity is particularly conspicuous in scholarship on higher education in the United States. Indeed, scholarship documenting the collegiate experiences and academic outcomes of Black students who are not classified as low income are all but nonexistent. This intersecting identity offers an important area for research. For many reasons, race and class have become interchangeable in discussions on the conditions of Black people in this country. One apparent reason for this is that there are a disproportionate number of Black indidviduals and families who are below the poverty line. In 2011, 28% of Black individuals were below the poverty line, in comparision to only 10% of White individuals. These statistics along with extensive literature on low-income Black families and individuals contribute to the term low income becoming synonymous with Black, although there is little scholarship on this popular trend (Boyington & Carter-Edwards, 2007; Engberg & Allen, 2011; King, 2010; Moynihan, 1965; Parks-Yancy, 2012; U.S. Census Bureau, 2012a)...

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