Reflections on Racism Against Women of Color Faculty in Academia


  • Sameena Azhar Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service
  • Kendra P. DeLoach McCutcheon Falk School of Social Work



In this article, we utilize autoethnographic methods and a literature review to report on themes regarding female social work faculty members who identify as women of Color (WOC) and their experiences with racism and White supremacy within predominantly White institutions in the United States. These experiences are not unique to any particular institution or university, but rather reflect systemic racism and the upholding of White supremacy in higher education throughout the United States. We highlight the differential vulnerability faced by WOC women in academia, which are often unaddressed in the pursuit of what is seen to be an egalitarian or colorblind merit review. Utilizing autoethnographic techniques and bearing in mind our own positionalities, we share personal narratives regarding our own marginalization within White spaces and the emotional labor that we are often asked to carry for the institutions within which we work. Themes include experiences of tokenization or assumed intellectual inferiority. Given the current sociopolitical moment and the heightened awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts within universities, institutions of higher education must move beyond simply hiring more people of color or conducting diversity trainings to ensuring that WOC are more fully included in their roles within universities as faculty, administrators, staff and students.