The cognition of intersubjectivity
Maddox, Candace Eugenia
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While previous research exist concerning the racial identity development of Black student within various environments, the perceptions of Black current students participating in a predominantly White institution (PWI) environment on their racial development may have adjusted over time. As students evolve, it becomes increasingly important for student affairs professionals to gain a better awareness of current students’ understanding of their racial identity through the students’ stories. This study sought to address the exploratory question: how are Black students making sense of their racial identity development within a PWI? The theoretical framework for this study incorporated the intersection of social constructionism and intersubjectivity with an underlying awareness of the racial identity stages outlined in Sellers, Shelton, Cooke, Chavous, Rowley, & Smith’s (1998) Multidimensional Model of Racial Identity. Using narrative inquiry and drawing on discourse analysis and the recursive nature of the constant comparative method, the data gleaned eight themes that help to describe the collective story of the 10 participants through their neo collective narrative of Blackness layered with their college experience at a PWI. These themes are labeled: family ties, ancestry, social construction, Blackness, navigating multiple identities, developing own racial identity, socialization, and regeneration. Some implications from this study included focusing on the cultural climate of the institution, supporting academic success centers for Black students, fostering family/parent partner programs, developing first year experience programs focused on Black student engagement, and promoting a campus wide initiative and culture that fosters communication in an out of the classroom on the topic of race. In sum, student affairs professionals should continue to provide the campus with strategies that build inclusive communities through utilizing their sound multicultural competencies.