Outsiders within : a phenomenological qualitative study of how Black female faculty navigate race and gender in predominately White institutions.


The purpose of this study was to obtain greater insight into the experiences of Black women who work as full-time faculty at two and four-year colleges and universities. This phenomenological qualitative study investigated the formal and informal interactions that full-time Black female faculty have with colleagues and students alike. Additionally, this study investigated how full-time Black female faculty manage self-care in the aftermath of racist and sexist experiences. Black Feminist Thought was used as the framework for analysis in this study. Black Feminist Thought is the study of how the political and economic status of Black women results in a distinctive set of experiences that lead to a different view of reality than that of other groups (Collins, 1989). Black Feminist Thought asserts that, through self-definition, Black women claim the power to reject externally-defined negative stereotypes about Black women (Collins, 1986; Stevens, 2019). As well, through self-valuation, Black women can look inward and rely upon themselves to ascertain their value (Stevens, 2019). This study utilized open ended, semi-structured interviews of 13 participants. All of the participants were Black women who worked as full-time professors, lecturers, or instructors at two or four-year colleges and universities. Each participant described their interactions with colleagues and students within both formal and informal settings. As well, each participant shared how they manage self-care in the aftermath of racist and sexist interactions. Research shows that women who work as higher education faculty experience undue stress as a result of navigating interlocked systems of oppression (Collins, 1986; Harris, 2012). The results of this study found that the participants experienced hostile work environments, cultural taxation, and gendered racism. Additionally, the results found that Black female faculty connected with sister circles, relied on faith, engaged in hobbies, and participated in community organizations to manage self-care in the aftermath of racist and sexist experiences. The results of this study can enhance the diversity and inclusion training provided to college and university administrators, faculty, and staff. In addition, the results of this study can be used to develop and implement more effective employee conduct policies on college and university campuses nationwide.



Intersection. Race. Gender. Feminist thought. Discrimination. Microaggression. Marginalization. Black women. Faculty. Professors.