Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Intersectionality and its impact on the school experiences of African-American females
by Alexander, Sheree Nicole, Ed.D., Rowan University, 2009, 287; 3412021
Abstract (Summary)

Race, class and gender are interlocking forms of oppression (Collins, 1990) and impact the life experiences of Black females. When Black females are educated in environments that do not consider the multiple identities that they posses, the effects are damaging and detrimental to their development as young women. The impact that race, class and gender has upon the lived experiences, identity development, and quality of life of adolescent females is enormous. The research that exists on this phenomenon is limited. The ways in which Black females experience everyday life varies according to context, location, and circumstance and it is imperative that their epistemology is taken into consideration and subjected to further research.

In this action research study, I utilized a mixed method approach to understanding the impact that race, class and gender had on the schooling experiences of Black girls in a predominately White schooling environment. Much of the empirical, referenced research on the lived experiences of African Americans females had been by White males and considered as truth. This study, conducted by a Black female brings to light, the shared experiences of subjects and researcher and lends itself to the epistemology of Black females that could not otherwise be captured by anyone other than a Black female.

This study further captures a journey of leadership development and exploration of self through the reflective cycles that make up action research. Reflecting upon espoused theories of leadership it became apparent that my commitment to social justice through Black feminism and critical race theories grounded my quest for the articulation of my authentic truth. Creating a space to explore that authentic truth came to fruition when the voices of those silenced were captured and will now be heard.

This study revealed that cultural disconnects, lack of diversity, and mental models impact the schooling of African American females within this context. In order to offset the detrimental effects, girls need safe spaces in which to sustain their daily lives. The first step toward building the capacity of schools to provide an educational environment in which all students will thrive is to make inquiry into pedagogical practice, refine professional teaching skills and remain constantly aware of the individuals that make up the student body we serve. In order for our American society to remain viable, we must educate and include all members understanding that one size does not fit all.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Coaxum, James, III
Commitee: Sernak, Kathleen, Walpole, Mary Beth
School: Rowan University
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- New Jersey
Source: DAI-A 71/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: African American Studies, Black studies, Educational sociology, Educational leadership
Keywords: African-American, Class, Gender, Girls, Intersectionality, Race, School experiences
Publication Number: 3412021
ISBN: 978-1-124-08763-4
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