Edited By William M. Reynolds
Chapter Thirty: Finding My Place in/Against a Peculiar Institution
Finding My Place In/Against a Peculiar Institution
NICHOLE A. GUILLORY
Reader, beware: This story does not have a happy ending. I do not conclude this chapter analyzing my continuing journey as a black woman teacher-educator working in a predominantly white institution in the South with a well-ordered, prescriptive list of suggestions for how to make things better for women like me in the academy. The extant literature by black women scholars in predominantly white institutions across the United States includes many painfully familiar personal narratives of struggle as well as research examining the historical, social, cultural, economic, and political barriers many black women experience in higher education (Benjamin, 1997; Berry & Mizelle, 2006; Collins, 2000, 2013; James & Farmer, 1993; Mabokela & Green, 2001; Muhs, Niemann, Gonzalez, & Harris, 2012). Most black women scholars who engage in this line of research do so for the express purpose of confronting racist and sexist oppression in the academy, as well as challenging institutional and epistemological hierarchies. Much of this research tends toward a solutions-centered approach whereby scholars tell black women what to do to “survive” or “heal” the wounds of oppression and what administrators can do to “improve” or “transform” oppressive institutional cultures. Much of the research leaves readers hopeful that black women can indeed be successful in the academy if they develop “coping” strategies and if the institutional culture is “supportive.”
I deliberately write this chapter in defiance of this...
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