Why Do Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) Obstruct Black Women Faculty's Access to Tenure?




Thompson, Kennique R.

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This thesis analyzes why there is a high turnover rate of Black women in academia. My focus is on the forms of discrimination involved in obstructing their advancement, including racial, sexual, and gender issues deflating the balloon of success for Black women seeking tenure in predominantly white institutions (PWIs). My research focuses on white supremacy within the ranks of faculty particularly with non-feminist white women and white feminists. Black women have resisted white supremacy, but white academics, especially white women faculty, still continue to oppress them. White supremacy inhibits the number of Black women in doctoral programs, which would give them the credentials to earn a tenure track job. White supremacy also inhibits the number of Black women with PhDs from being hired in tenure track positions. This limits their access to their representation among the number of overall US faculty who have been granted tenure.  White Americans have long viewed the labors of Black women within a domestic capacity where their roles helped others succeed, but they never really help US Black women with their own job prospects. White patriarchy depends on both non-feminist white women and white feminists to keep white supremacy in power and for the obstruction of women of color in the academy in a continuous cycle. Black women’s resistance has taken the following forms: forming community with each other, presenting themselves with confidence and authority, and collectively calling out the white supremacist narrative that Black women are incapable of working in a higher education setting.


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White supremacy, Black women, White feminists