Students and educators alike continue to find discussing race and racism challenging. Intergroup dialogue (IGD) offers a framework for addressing this challenge, yet much of the research on IGD is done on participants rather than with participants. Utilizing a qualitative cooperative inquiry approach, this article examines outcomes of an IGD among Black and White faculty concerning Robin DiAngelo’s (2018) book, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. Aligning the phases of cooperative inquiry with IGD stages, participants explore differences and commonalities, relationship building, difficulties and conflicts in the dialogue process, and steps toward action. Reflections provide insight into how IGDs on race create effective opportunities for faculty growth and for fostering anti-racist praxis.
Discussing Racism in Higher Education: A Faculty Intergroup Dialogue on White Fragility
Dr. S. Renée Jones is an Assistant Professor in Integrated Studies at Middle Tennessee State University. She centers her research on adults in higher education with specific foci on (1) equity and access, (2) incivility in higher education, (3) experiences of older adult students, and (4) doctoral studies. Dr. Jones has presented nationally and internationally on topics such as unconscious bias, faculty incivility, experiences of doctoral students, older adults in higher education, and students with disabilities.
Dr. Roberta Chevrette is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at Middle Tennessee State University. Her rhetorical and ethnographic research interrogates relationships among communication, identity, and social justice using queer, feminist, anti-racist, and postcolonial frameworks. Along with numerous articles and book chapters, she is coauthor of the book Dangerous Dames: Representing Female-Bodied Empowerment in Postfeminist Media.
Dr. Janna McClain is an Assistant Professor of Elementary and Special Education at Middle Tennessee State University. Having spent nearly a decade teaching language in K–12 public school settings, Dr. McClain’s research focuses on preparing teachers to meet the increasing linguistic demands of the classroom across three areas: honoring the diverse linguistic backgrounds of students, supporting students’ access to the language of school, and developing critical language awareness.
Dr. Patrick (Pat) Richey is the Director of Forensics and an Associate Professor at Middle Tennessee State University. He earned his PhD from the University of Southern Mississippi. Pat’s academic interests include debate history and theory, as well as rhetoric, specifically post-colonialism, military rhetoric, and Islamic rhetoric. He has edited a debate textbook and has published multiple article and book chapters.
Pamela C. McCluney is currently an instructor for Integrated Studies at Middle Tennessee State University. Prior, she was at Gilford Technical Community College and the University of Miami. She earned her master of arts in English and African American Literature from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and her bachelor of arts in Mass Communications from Grambling State University.
S. Renée Jones, Roberta Chevrette, Janna Brown McClain, Patrick G. Richey, Pamela C. McCluney; Discussing Racism in Higher Education: A Faculty Intergroup Dialogue on White Fragility. Departures in Critical Qualitative Research 1 June 2023; 12 (2): 29–53. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/dcqr.2023.12.2.29
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