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ERIC Number: EJ1018176
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 31
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1467-9620
Learning to Resist: Educational Counter-Narratives of Black College Reentry Mothers
Sealey-Ruiz, Yolanda
Teachers College Record, v115 n4 2013
Background: College reentry women are often older than the traditional college student, and in this study are distinguished from other students because of their parental status as mothers (Johnson-Bailey, 2000; Sealey-Ruiz, 2007). As one of the the fastest growing populations in colleges and universities across the nation, it is alarming that many Black college reentry women, despite their educational gains, continue to face stereotypes about who they are socially, politically, and educationally. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the schooling experiences of Black college reentry mothers (n = 5) and explicate the ways in which they theorize and make meaning of the complexities of their lives, particularly in regard to the intersections of race, college reentry, and motherhood. Research Design: Employing qualitative case study and narrative analysis methods, the larger study from which some data for this article derive (Sealey-Ruiz, 2005) examined the educational narratives of Black college reentry women. The original study investigated the influence the participants' college reentry had on their lives and their daughters' educational choices. The study reported in this article, then, includes data from individual interviews with the 5 mothers from the original study as they focus on their college reentry experience and motherhood. Findings/Results: Contrary to what some researchers assert about schools not providing welcoming spaces for Black women to develop an optimistic sense of self, the reentry mothers in this study viewed college enrollment as a crucial step toward positive self-definition. Their efforts to become educated represent their resistance to public stereotypical images of themselves as Black mothers. In other words, they believed their college reentry served as counterpoint to the three stereotypes about Black mothers discussed in this article: the mammy, the matriarch, and the welfare mother/welfare queen. Conclusions/Recommendations: The counter-narratives these mothers offered to the three stereotypes suggest that there are psychological barriers (fear of belonging, self-doubt, fear of marginalization, racism, sexism, negative stereotyping) to their academic success. This conclusion has the strong potential to move educational researchers toward a deeper investigation of challenges to the college reentry experienced by Black mothers, in the hope of creating institutional support structures, systems, and policies that can propel the academic success of this population.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A