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I'm Used to Having to Look at Myself through Somebody Else's Eyes

Title: I'm Used to Having to Look at Myself through Somebody Else's Eyes: Comparing Black Women's Expeirences of Stereotyping at a Historically Black University and a Predominantly White University.
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Corrected Title: I'm Used to Having to Look at Myself through Somebody Else's Eyes: Comparing Black Women's Experiences of Stereotyping at a Historically Black University and a Predominantly White University.
Name(s): Armstrong, Jasmine Cheynne, author
Padavic, Irene, professor directing dissertation
Reynolds, John R., committee member
Tillman, Kathryn H., committee member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, degree granting college
Department of Sociology, degree granting department
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Doctoral Thesis
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2018
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (151 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This study examines variation in the cultural stereotypes African American women encounter at a historically Black university and at a predominantly White university and the possible differences in the stereotypes' effect. Prior research reveals a variety of “controlling images” of African American women in the society at large and at predominantly white universities in particular. A separate literature on HBCUs indicates many advantages for African Americans, such as philosophies that mirror the values in the black community, the high number of black faculty and administrators who cater to the academic needs of the black student population, and the large black student representation on campus that ensures that black students are not a numerical minority. An unexamined potential advantage is that racialized stereotypes about black women may be less pervasive or, if they exist, they may be less pernicious and emotionally damaging than on predominantly-white campuses. I interviewed 46 women on two campuses, one an HBCU and the other a PWI. The purpose of this project is to develop a deeper understanding of Black women's experiences in the college setting and to add to scholarly knowledge about the advantages or disadvantages for black women of attending these two different types of institution. Negative stereotypes of black women have old roots, but they still appear in modern-day public discourse. I examine six stereotypical images of black women: the angry black woman, the strong black woman, the bossy black woman, the Jezebel black woman, the ghetto black woman, and the respectable black woman. These images have nuanced descriptions that categorize black women by their race, gender, and social class yet are adaptations of the historical stereotypes of black women as the Mammy, the Jezebel, and the Sapphire. This study has important policy implications. It can help us understand how stereotypes undermine black women’s efforts to advance. It also can shed light on the effectiveness of HBCUs compared to PWIs for black women’s experience of college life. Such insights may have boarder implications about improving black women’s chances of getting the most out of their education and preparing them for careers. Interviews revealed that women on both campuses encountered multiple stereotypes and that the HBCU was no more effective at protecting women from these encounters than was the PWI. In regard to black women’s experiences, the “angry black woman,” the “strong black woman,” and the “bossy black woman” stereotype were the most pervasive on both campuses. Differences were found in how elaborated the stories were about the stereotypes on one campus or the other. For example, women at the PWI reported more vivid experiences of being stereotyped as ghetto black women while women at the HBCU reported more stories about being labelled as Jezebels. I conclude by describing how this research contributes to intersectionality theory.
Identifier: 2018_Su_ARMSTRONG_fsu_0071E_14678 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Sociology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Summer Semester 2018.
Date of Defense: July 2, 2018.
Keywords: black women, college, historically black colleges, intersectionality, predominantly white instutitions, stereotypes
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Irene Padavic, Professor Directing Dissertation; Tamara Bertrand Jones, University Representative; John Reynolds, Committee Member; Kathryn Tillman, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Sociology
Education, Higher
African Americans -- Study and teaching
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/2018_Su_ARMSTRONG_fsu_0071E_14678
Owner Institution: FSU

Choose the citation style.
Armstrong, J. C. (2018). I'm Used to Having to Look at Myself through Somebody Else's Eyes: Comparing Black Women's Expeirences of Stereotyping at a Historically Black University and a Predominantly White University. Retrieved from http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/2018_Su_ARMSTRONG_fsu_0071E_14678