Black Women, Ivory Tower: Revealing the Lies of White Supremacy in American Education

Broadleaf. Jan. 2024. 196p. ISBN 9781506489834. $24.99. SOC SCI
Harris (African American studies, Univ, of Texas, San Antonio) uses research and her own experiences in this searing critique of the treatment of Black women on college campuses. When Harris attended Vassar College in 2001, she felt like an outsider. The presence of other Black students was rare; Black professors even rarer. Many of those she encountered were legacy students who were familiar with the campus and came from upper-class families. From a middle-class family herself, Harris attended Vassar on a scholarship that paid for half of her tuition. She went into student-loan debt to help pay the other half. She attributes white supremacy culture, systemic racism, and misogynoir to the negative and at times hostile experiences that she and her research participants had at predominantly white universities. Each chapter goes in-depth into barriers Black women may face while attending school. Along the way, she discusses past protests at other universities, the young women from the Little Rock Nine, and the importance of Black teachers.
VERDICT Harris’s weighty ruminations may serve as either a cautionary tale or a wake-up call for Black women readers, young and older, who are considering higher education. Readers interested in social issues within academia should also peruse the book.
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