July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Minorities in Engineering
Current scholarly and political conversations have galvanized researchers across academic institutions and across the discipline of engineering education to address the role of systemic racism in the discipline, university and beyond. As both popular (Hackman 2015; Gay 2016) and scholarly texts (Dace, 2012; Patterson 2018) can attest, however, not all who set out to work as allies are well-equipped to do so.
This proposed presentation begins with an analysis of three potential roles that can be taken up by activists and justice seekers. Moving from ally to co-conspirator, we delineate the power and positionality of each of the three roles, explaining the limits of allyship and exploring the affordances of positioning oneself as an advocate or co-conspirator. Then, we take a critical look at a key critical relationship that often remains adversarial: the relationship between white and Black women.
In engineering, the limited numbers of women and women of color has prevented an honest look at the ways difference among women creates a need for purposeful advocacy and co-conspiracy. Although many women in engineering initiatives exist, they have been known to cater to the needs of white women. As such, women of color, particularly Black women, often engage with affinity groups focused on race more than gender. As Riley and Pawley (2011) have demonstrated, the myths about gender and race reveal the need to articulate an intersectional approach to oppression; yet few white women have been well prepared to navigate their own positionality and privilege alongside and as an accomplice with Black women.
Using Walton et al’s (2019) theory of coalitions, we provide an dialogic exploration of the difficult dialogues white and Black women often fail to have and, using cases from a qualitative research study and engineering education, describe the steps necessary to traverse and redress the inequities among women in the academy and engineering.
Moore, K., & Cox, M. F. (2021, July), Allies, Advocates, and Accomplices: A Critical Look at the Relationships Between white and Black women in Engineering Education Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36660
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