Hear our voices: Supporting Black women in cultural & affinity-based student organizations at predominantly white institutions of postsecondary education in the midwestern United States
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The United States is a nation rooted in imperialism, colonialism, and racism, built on the backs of minoritized people whose perspectives are not reflected in dominant narratives at every level of society. Historically, Black women have had both racialized and gendered experiences generally and specifically in institutions of postsecondary education, via exclusion and adverse experiences (Collins, 2000; Garcia, 2019; Karkouti, 2016). This historical exclusion exists in part due to the white male hegemony. As a result, and as a coping mechanism, Black women often created or assisted in the creation of affinity-based student organizations. These organizations were aimed at supporting Black students and serving as activist and catalysts for change. This study examines the experiences of Black women engaged affinity-based groups at PWIs in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. The purpose of this study is to understand the perceptions held by the study population regarding their institution and how that perception helped them to make meaning of their experience. The research questions that guide this dissertation include: (a) How do Black undergraduate women engaged in affinity-based organizations perceive institutional support at PWIs (during times of activism)? and (b) How do participants describe their relationship with such institutions?