So I'm doing an assignment for class where I share scholarship related to my dissertation topic with "the masses". So please RT and stuff lol help me get a good grade. Anyways this will be a thread on "colorblindness" and campus counterspaces for Black/Latinx students. 1/
So first things first. Lemme put yall onto a book by Dr. Micere Keels @EdTalkProject who I'm currently obsessed with. "Campus Counterspaces" is written in an accessible way & really gets to the heart of why counterspaces are important. Take a look here: 2/
She describes it way better than I ever could. But to sum up the first couple chapters, she points out that Black and Latinx students are both invisible AND hypervisible on college campuses. 3/
What does it mean to be invisible and hypervisible? Historically White Institutions (HWIs) don't really exist to meet their needs or represent them = invisibility, feeling like you're not part of the ingroup. 4/
But at the same time, a group of Black students sitting together in a dining hall draws attention = hypervisibility. If you're a member of a marginalized group you know exactly what I'm talking about. 5/
So Black and Latinx students are invisible when and where they need to be seen, and hypervisible when and where they should just be able to live their lives. What does this create for these students in the way of a sense of belonging? A total disconnect from the larger campus. 6/
That type of connection to the larger life of the campus is called institutional interconnectedness. And even if you're a "burn this place to the ground" revolutionary kind of student, institutional interconnectedness is still important for your mental health& academic success 7/
So here you are on campus, 18, first time away from home, and you feel simultaneously invisible and WATCHED, and you really aren't getting that sense of belonging on campus that was sold to you as a guaranteed part of the college experience. What now? 8/
Hopefully you can find a space on campus where you can process these thoughts, feelings, challenges, achievements in a culturally-affirming and culturally-responsive way. What do I mean by that? 9/
It means maintaining an environment where you as a marginalized student are not considered a problem for the university to solve, & where your lived experiences are automatically believed. It also means having cultural competence about your own vs others' backgrounds 10/
Let me give an example of a response to sharing struggles that would NOT be considered culturally affirming. This is something I see White people doing all the time so that's why I'm pointing it out. 11/
Let's say you were just at a #BLM protest & you saw (but did not participate in) destruction of private property, and also saw instances of extreme police brutality. You discuss this experience in class and a White student scolds you for being destructive and quotes MLK Jr. 12/
This constant need to defend the actions of every Black person, while the violence and criminality of the police and the historical context for such destruction go unrecognized, all tied up with a quote from MLK, is one of many ways Black students get "racial battle fatigue" 13/
"Racial battle fatigue" is a term coined by William Smith (not, not the Man in Black yall, please focus) in 2008. You can download that article here IT IS 🔥🔥🔥 14/
His full definition: “cumulative result of a natural race-related stress response to distressing mental and emotional conditions. These conditions emerged from constantly facing racially dismissive, demeaning, insensitive and/or hostile racial environments and individuals.” 15/
Smith is p much referring to just being EXHAUSTED by microaggressions. The amazing thing about a campus counterspace is that you don't really have to deal with that. If you're a Latina in a Latine counterspace, you don't have to constantly explain and defend your Latinidad. 16/
That holds true for counterspaces for any other marginalized group. Context is key here - a group that's marginalized or minoritized in one space may be in a position of power in the next, or in different configurations within the same counterspace. 17/
So if you're a disabled Black woman, you might still experience microagressions around your disability in a group of mostly able-bodied Black women. BUT you will not experience the same condescension around race that you may face in other non-exclusionary spaces. 18/
Your lived experiences as a Black/Latinx individual will not constantly be butting up against colorblind ideology from White people. We've come to know this kind of space as a safe space, and a lot of people balk at it as a "echo chamber" for "snowflakes" 19/
This is where Dr. Keels makes such an important point (she is an icon go buy her book). She talks about how safe spaces are important not b/c they shield us from conflict, but because they provide a safe arena for critical thinking and conflicting views among group members 20/
You have this space where you're not starting from 0 w/ people who believe in a post-racial, colorblind society& refuse to see your Blackness, Latinidad, etc. Your cultural background is not seen as "an immature attachment" as Dr. Keels puts it. 21/
In a counterspace, your cultural identity is recognized for the wealth of capital it provides, b/c your group members share this community cultural wealth (Yosso 2005 for more on this). And now you can affirm one another while critically examining your own culture/community. 22/
When you critically examine your own culture, it opens the door for negotiations around community accountability and for nuanced critiques of your own culture. You can talk about machismo in Latinidad without having to first defend Latinidad to White people. 23/
To wrap up: Campus counterspaces at HWIs are so important b/c they provide a safe space for communities of color to be self-supportive & self-critical & to process their experiences w/o stock stories of colorblindness interrupting that flow (Vue et al. 2017 for more on this). 24/
When students have those kinds of spaces, they can mobilize using the full force of their community cultural wealth to succeed a HWIs. Exclusionary spaces are one of the best ways HWIs can be inclusive. Exclusion supports inclusion, separateness supports interconnectedness. 25/
So if you want to support Black/Latinx or really any other minoritized, marginalized, underrepresented students on campus and increase their institutional interconnectedness and sense of belonging, provide opportunities for counterspaces to form and thrive. 26/
PS Reminder that here I'm summarizing what Dr. Keels and others have contributed to the field. These are not my ideas, think of it like a cover song lol. Full credit to Dr. Keels, Dr. Smith, Dr. Yosso, and others who have spent their careers building up this scholarship. 27/
My contribution (hopefully) will be to include parents, families, &communities. I'm starting a new job next week& I'm hoping to organize Latine parents and families to support their future college-going high school students within their own counterspaces. Stay tuned. FIN 28/28
BTW, I dont really care if you smashed up a Target or not. I just included not participating here as an example of being held accountable for actions you didn't even personally take part in.

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