"I can't give it my all if my heart isn't in it”: Understanding Black undergraduate students’ development of Black Racialized Critical Consciousness at two historically and predominantly white institutions
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Rosemary J. Perez
Scholars have conducted numerous studies examining the experiences of Black undergraduate students, especially those at historically and predominantly white institutions (HPWIs). These studies have included the development and application of a variety of racial identity models in the context of higher education, and this dissertation project engages these conversations. I examined three overlapping bodies of literature related to Black identity (Cross, 1971, 1991; Cross & Fhagen-Smith, 2001; Sellers et al., 1997; Sellers et al., 1998), Black consciousness(es) (double consciousness—Du Bois, 1903/1990; triple consciousness—Fanon, 1952/2008), and Critical Consciousness (Freire, 1970/2000) and sought to understand their intersections. Current literature details how Black collegians’ experiences on campus have influenced their identity development. I was interested in understanding if and how Black students’ experiences in college propelled them to Black Racialized Critical Consciousness which results in them acting to effect change in their respective institutions.In this qualitative study, I employed a critical constructivist approach to constructivist grounded theory methods to explore how 10 Black collegians conceptualized their racialized identities in relation to their experiences at two private, four-year HPWIs in the southeastern United States. I identified five themes related to Black collegians’ development of Black Racialized Critical Consciousness: (a) uncovering Blackness, (b) defining Blackness, (c) negotiating Blackness, and (d) advancing Blackness. From these findings, I created the Model of Black Collegians’ Development of Black Racialized Critical Consciousness, highlighting the processes and environments students discussed as necessary to their development. I explicitly center Blackness and anti-Blackness as the foundation of racism and white supremacy in higher education and provide examples of Black student resistance to anti-Black racism. This study concludes with implications for theory, practice, policy, and future research related to the study of Black undergraduate students at historically and predominantly white institutions of higher education.
Lincoln Wesley Dean Harris Jr.
Harris Jr., Lincoln Wesley Dean, ""I can't give it my all if my heart isn't in it”: Understanding Black undergraduate students’ development of Black Racialized Critical Consciousness at two historically and predominantly white institutions" (2021). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 18505.