Greenfield Community College’s (GCC) faculty and staff are predominantly white (93%) and though most espouse progressive politics and have the best of intentions, conversations on campus focused on race or racism are still difficult. In an attempt to address this challenge, we created a book group based on Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Why it’s so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.
PAR is a methodology that democratizes research by transforming the relationship of researcher and participants to where they are working together to actively learn about and create change in the world. In the context of student success for Black, Indigenous and other people of color (BIPOC) and other underserved students, the best place to learn about this is by recruiting students to become co-researchers and engaging students to help analyze the data and collaborate in finding ways to improve student success.
For several months, we, the three authors, met once a week to share stories about our evolution as social justice educators. While we come from different back- grounds and are different ages, we have each pursued a career in academia, moti- vated by a desire to address social injustice. Different identities and experiences have shaped our lives, but we share a common understanding of social justice and a collective desire to make an impact on the lives of our students. We are Korean, Black, and White, all raised in the United States. We are cisgender heterosexual, bisexual, and gay.
In higher education, efforts to diversify the workforce and create a more inclusive and repre- sentative environment for students and employees have often been stymied by institutionalized racism, a lack of resources, and a lack of institutional energy. In this chapter I discuss an action research intervention, inspired by diverse economies scholarship, that was aimed at valuing and strengthening diversity and inclusion in a community college setting.