Adult bullying in academia
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The purpose of this study was to understand how adult bullying influences the lives of gay male faculty members of color in higher education. This study focused on the exploration and examination of gay male faculty members of color’s negative experiences related to the intersection of racism and homophobia that implied adult bullying in higher education. This study addressed the following questions: 1. How is bullying manifested in the lives of gay male faculty members of color? 2. In what ways does bullying affect gay male faculty members of color’s academic lives? 3. How do gay male faculty members of color cope with bullying in higher education? This study implemented narrative inquiry, a qualitative research design. Individual interviews were conducted with nineteen self-identified gay male faculty members of color in higher education representing multiple disciplines. The data revealed three major findings. The first finding indicated that bullying takes different forms in academia: a) positional bullying; b) counter-positional bullying; and c) unintentional conspirative positional bullying. The second finding showed that the gay male faculty members of color use their prior life experiences to help manage their career paths in academia. The third finding revealed that the participants had coped or were coping with their experiences of being bullied by using their experiences to help them develop a plan for strategically managing their careers in higher education. Three conclusions were drawn from this study: 1) The bullying of gay male faculty members of color in academia was prevalent and practiced by White and/or heterosexual males and females while simultaneously being cloaked in civility, subjectively applied rules and policies and enabled by a cooperatively complicit system; 2) Bullying had a negative cumulative impact on gay male faculty members of color necessitating them to live in defense of their psychological well-being and academic careers; and 3) The gay male faculty members of color separately and in isolation from other gay male faculty members of color constructed support networks and developed self-help mechanisms as a way to insure their survival in academia.