By Sarah Susannah Willie
Sarah Willie asks: what is it prefer to be black on campus. for many Black scholars, attending predominantly white universities, it's a fight. Do you are attempting to combination in? Do you are taking a stand? Do you find yourself appearing because the token consultant to your entire race? And what approximately these scholars who attend predominantly black universities? How do their reports differ?In performing Black, Sarah Willie interviews fifty five African American alumnae of 2 universities, similar other than that one is predominantly white, Northwestern, and one is predominantly black, Howard. What she discovers via their tales, reflected in her personal university event , is that the varsity campus is from time to time the degree for a fair extra extreme model of the racial concerns performed out past its partitions. The interviewees discuss "acting white" in a few events and "acting black" in others. They deal with race as many various issues, together with a suite of behaviours that they could decide to act out.In appearing Black, Willie situates the private tales of her personal adventure and people of her interviewees inside a timeline of black schooling in the USA and a overview of college coverage, with feedback for development for either black and white universities trying to make their campuses really multicultural. within the culture of The soreness of schooling (Routledge, 1996) , Willie captures the painful dilemmas and unpleasant realities African americans needs to face on campus.
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Extra resources for Acting Black: College, Identity, and the Performance of Race
1 Howard and Northwestern were both founded in the mid-1800s. S. government,2 and has been able to keep its tuition to just less than half of Northwestern’s. Still, in the late 1980s, 80 percent of Howard students were receiving some financial aid, compared to 60 percent of Northwestern students (Peterson 1989). Howard spreads itself over more than two hundred acres of the capital city, while Northwestern is situated on two hundred acres of Lake Michigan beachfront in Evanston, Illinois, a few miles north of Chicago.
That first year in college was a mighty struggle. Receiving barely satisfactory grades in every course but English, I feared I was disappointing everyone except those who expected African Americans and women to be academic failures. Yet I was so ashamed of my academic difficulties that I rarely sought help outside of class. Academic anxiety and the demands of deflecting what seemed to be regular though not easily decipherable racial jabs exhausted me. My white classmates were spending their energy on other things.
In this chapter, I share my own experience as a black student at a predominantly white college, and a semester spent at an HBCU. My experience was not only about race, nor is race the only lens through which I might have interpreted my college years. But, as Tatum observes, “The parts of our identity that do capture our attention are those that other people notice, and that reflect back to us. The aspect of identity that is the target of others’ attention, and subsequently of our own, often is that which sets us apart as exception or ‘other’ in their eyes” (1997:21).
Acting Black: College, Identity, and the Performance of Race by Sarah Susannah Willie