Giving Compass’ Take:
• Brandy Jones and Janelle Williams, at The Hechinger Report, call for accountability in US higher education, which has been institutionally alienating and neglecting Black women for generations.
• How do academic institutions predict wealth and income? Why has systemic racism in these institutions reproduced cycles of marginalization for Black women?
Amid the larger discussion of systemic racism and structural change, the hashtag #BlackInTheIvory, created by Shardé Davis and Joy Melody Woods, began to spark dialogue on the need for structural change in the academy and the urgent need for a radical restructuring of U.S. higher education. The hashtag, which continues to grow each day, has spotlighted the ways in which academia has persistently excluded and alienated Black academics (at all levels, across all genders).
As we read the experiences of those who contributed to #BlackInTheIvory, we were instantly reminded of a recent study we conducted that examined how Black women — more specifically, Black women student leaders — create community at highly selective institutions.
The study, “Black and Ivy: How Black female student leaders create community and inclusion at an Ivy League institution,” sought to offer a holistic portrait of how Black women student leaders navigate academic spaces and create community on campus while holding positions of leadership.
Black women often get left out in larger discussions of systemic racism and oppression. Their experiences are often pushed to the side, their stories ignored. Although our study has helped us and others better understand the challenges that exist for Black women student leaders, it was not undertaken solely to offer an overview of the challenges that hinder Black women on their paths to academic and professional success.
As Black women in academia attempt to independently combat their dual oppression, and as they are tokenized in spaces where they are the only person who looks like them, institutions should work to make spaces, allocate money, personnel and resources, and create programs designed to reduce the unique challenges these students face in the academy.
Read the full article about how education is neglecting Black women by Brandy Jones and Janelle Williams at The Hechinger Report.
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