The Campus as Stage: A Qualitative Study of the Hypervisibility and Invisibility of African American Female Identity in the Built Campus Environment

Stephanie Krusemark
2012 Journal of Research on Women and Gender   unpublished
My Mother was asking me not to look to her as a role model. She was devaluing that part of herself that was not Harvard and refocusing my vision to that part of herself that was hard-edged, proficient, and Western. She hid the lonely, Black, defiled-female part of herself and pushed me forward as the projection of a competent self, a cool rather than despairing self, a masculine rather than a feminine self. (Williams, 1998, p. 20) The above quote by American legal and critical race theory
more » ... r, Patricia J. Williams, describes the psychological process that she endured to prepare herself to enter Harvard Law School. Her account serves as an excellent example to validate that in order for African American women to succeed in the academy, they have adapted their racial and gender identities to fit the predominant culture (Fordham, 1993). African American women face a unique experience when entering a predominantly white campus space. Not only must they prepare for the academic rigors of attending an institution of higher education intellectually, they must also psychologically prepare for racially gendered experiences. A racially gendered experience is one that places the intersection of one's racial and gendered identity within the historic, social, cultural, political, and economic context of societal dominant ideologies of identity where issues of racism, sexism, classism, discrimination, harassment, and other forms of oppression manifest (Collins