R.A.C.E. Mentoring Through Social Media

Black and Hispanic Scholars Share Their Journey in the Academy

Edited by:
Donna Y. Ford, Vanderbilt University
Michelle Trotman Scott, University of West Georgia
Ramon B. Goings, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Tuwana T. Wingfield, Illinois State University
Malik S. Henfield, Loyola University Chicago

A volume in the series: Contemporary Perspectives on Access, Equity, and Achievement. Editor(s): Chance W. Lewis, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Published 2016

The Ivory Tower is and can often be a lonely place for faculty of color. Social injustices run deep and are entrenched within academia. Faculty of color (FOC), more specifically Black and Hispanic, often lament about the ‘Black/Brown’ tax that frequently takes its toll both personally and professionally, and pushes them out of the academy. Similar to trends in P‐12 settings, educators of color in postsecondary contexts represent less than 10% of the profession. In essence, we are an anomaly and the implications of this are clear and dire, as evidenced by persistent achievement, access, and expectation gaps within the academy.

Scholars of color (SOC), at all stages, but particularly during doctoral training, frequently struggle to not just survive, but to thrive, in the academy. Too many fail to earn their doctoral degree, with many wearing the All But Dissertation (ABD) as a badge of honor. Although ABD is not a degree, many scholars of color receive inadequate mentoring, often substandard in comparison to the hand‐holding White students receive, which leaves far too many doctoral students of color lost, bewildered, angry, indignant, and defeated. This righteous indignation is justified, but excused away using the myth of meritocracy and colorblind notions of success; followed by a myriad of problems steeped with victim blaming, as noted in the classic Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia (Gutiérrez y Muhs, Niemann, González, & Harris, 2012). The aforementioned work was not the first treatise on higher education and how the non‐status quo, along with those grappling with oppression and double standards, experience the profession called higher education. Moreover, The Chilly Climate (Sandler, Silverberg, & Hall, 1996) report, which focused on females, was also telling, but not enough was addressed and disclosed about females of color, until version two. But these issues do not stop with females of color, but instead, extend to all faculty of color.

R.A.C.E. Mentoring, a social media Facebook group, with several subgroups (see Figures 1 and 2) was created by Donna Y. Ford, Michelle Trotman Scott, and Malik S. Henfield in 2013, to tackle the numerous thorny and contentious issues and challenges in higher education. We began by intentionally attending to the needs of students enrolled at mostly White universities, as well as those who attended historically Black colleges and universities, while keeping the unique nuances and challenges of each setting in mind. We wanted scholars of color to thrive in both. Fondly and affectionately called RM, our charge and challenge is to affirm the dignity and worth of scholars of color. Additionally, we recognize that there are scholars outside of academe, and their contributions as well to impact and affect change for Black and Brown people inside and outside of academe need to be acknowledged. These scholars are community organizers, activists, P‐12 teachers, and families. It truly takes a village...

Introduction. PART I: DOCTORAL STUDENTS. The Transformation From Student to Scholar Through R.A.C.E. Mentoring, Ramon B. Goings. Finding My Voice: The Use of Social Media to Counter Racism and Sexism in the Academy, Tuwana T. Wingfield. Breaking the Silence: Speaking Out Against Institutional Racism by Raising Awareness in the Academic Community, Jessica A. Fripp. Last Place to the Top, Adrienne Benavides. My Otherness: Navigating and Surviving Predominantly White Institution, Shawn Anthony Robinson. Habitus, the Social Capital of the Working Class, and the Intersectionality of an Afro‐Latina’s Experiences, Mildred Boveda. Navigating Academia and Beyond With Race Mentoring: A Biracial Multicultural Female PhD Student’s Journey Toward the Hood, Merzili Villanueva. I Once was Lost ... But Now I’m Embracing Social Media Guidance, Charemi A. Jones. Extending the Village: Utilizing R.A.C.E. Mentoring to Obtain Support as an ABD Student Distanced From My Home Institution, Keisha McIntosh Allen. The Influence of R.A.C.E. Mentoring on a Black Man’s Journey Navigating White Spaces in Academe, Raymond Adams. Even Trailblazers Need Mentors, Rhonesha Blache. PART II: ASSISTANT PROFESSORS. A Letter to Future Doctoral Candidates of Color, Charissa Owens. The Days of My Life: The Emergence of R.A.C.E. Mentoring, Telvis M. Rich. Novice, Not Naïve: How R.A.C.E. Mentoring Helped a Young, Black, Female Scholar Level the Playing Field, Jemimah Young. “Straight Outta Support”: Learning to Navigate the Academy as a Black Male Clinical Faculty Member at a Predominantly White Institution Through R.A.C.E. Mentoring, Nathaniel Bryan. “Hell Yes, We Can Do This!”: R.A.C.E. Mentoring as a Figured World, Melanie M. Acosta. Death of the Imposter Syndrome: Scholarship Through Mentorship, SaDohl G. Jones. Matriculating, Marriage, and Maneuvering Within the Academy, Marta N. Mack‐Washington and Ahmad R. Washington. “You Gonna Look Out for Me?”: Building Faculty Rapport and Life After the Doctorate With R.A.C.E. Mentoring, Heather Cherie Moore. Regard, Resilience, and Resistance (RCubed): Experiences in the R.A.C.E. Mentoring Facebook Social Media Group, Nicole M. Joseph. Navigating the #PhDGrind With the Support of Social Media, Jennifer M. Johnson. PART III: ASSOCIATE AND FULL PROFESSORS. Racing Mentoring and Mentoring the (E)Raced: Collecting Our Geniuses, Venus E. Evans‐Winters. University Warfare: How Social Media Mentoring Helped Me Toward Tenure and Then Promotion, Brandon E. Gamble. Resisting Internalized Racism: R.A.C.E. Mentoring as a Survival Strategy in the Ivory Tower, Dorothy Hines. PART IV: HIGHER EDUCATION ADMINISTRATORS. Understanding the Mission of This Work: How R.A.C.E. Mentoring Saved My Life, Nicole McZeal Walters. PART V: P–12 EDUCATORS AND ADMINISTRATORS. Inspired to Be Who I Want to Be, V. Marlene Prater. The Long Road to Home: The Importance of (R.A.C.E.) Mentoring in My Life, Natoshia Anderson. Life Lines: How R.A.C.E. Mentoring Gave My Dreams Life, Sheree N. Alexander. Surviving the Academy Through Mentorship, Dena N. Simmons. No One Knew Her Name Until R.A.C.E. Mentoring Changed Her Game, April J. Lisbon. Professional Mentoring Through Facebook, Breshawn Harris. About the Contributors.