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The Unchosen Me

Hardback
, 248 pages

11 line drawings

ISBN:
9780801893544
October 2009
$57.00

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The Unchosen Me

Race, Gender, and Identity among Black Women in College

Racial and gender inequities persist among college students, despite ongoing efforts to combat them. Students of color face alienation, stereotyping, low expectations, and lingering racism even as they actively engage in the academic and social worlds of college life. The Unchosen Me examines the experiences of African American collegiate women and the identity-related pressures they encounter both on and off campus.

Rachelle Winkle-Wagner finds that the predominantly white college environment often denies African American students the chance to determine their own sense of self. Even the very programs and policies developed to promote racial equality may effectively impose "unchosen" identities on underrepresented students. She offers clear evidence of this interactive process, showing how race, gender, and identity are created through interactions among one’s self, others, and society.

At the heart of this book are the voices of women who struggle to define and maintain their identities during college. In a unique series of focus groups called "sister circles," these women could speak freely and openly about the pressures and tensions they faced in school. The Unchosen Me is a rich examination of the underrepresented student experience, offering a new approach to studying identity, race, and gender in higher education.

Rachelle Winkle-Wagner is an assistant professor of higher education in the Department of Educational Administration at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

"Groundbreaking research on a controversial topic and written by a courageous author... It’s a unique addition to the existing literature on identity development."

"This book has a valuable, unique approach to understanding issues facing black women in university environments... Winkle-Wagner has brought sister circles out in the open in a way that could spur dialogue between black and white women that could lead to cross—racial sisterhood that has been lacking on college campuses. I hope to see black and white women walking around campus with copies of The Unchosen Me."

"Winkle-Wagner should be commended for her contribution to the literature and for expanding the discussion of what college administrators can do to positively affect the retention of African American women."

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