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Double Jeopardy: Being African-American and “Doing Diversity” in Independent Schools


by Diane M. Hall & Howard C. Stevenson — 2007

The experience and responsibility of addressing diversity issues in independent schools is the focus of this article. Open-ended interviews were conducted with diversity coordinators in independent schools in a large urban area in the Northeast. Coordinators were asked about their roles within the schools and about their participation in a study on race within the school. Five major themes emerged around the issue of racial tokenism that described the tensions that diversity coordinators face. They included the marginalized isolation of “being the only one,” school system resistance toward defining diversity, marginalized perception of Blackness, intense and suppressed need for role support, and racial cognitive dissonance. Results indicate that diversity coordinators are often isolated within their schools and may face increased vulnerability due to their tokenized status and roles as diversity coordinators. Recommendations for addressing these issues in independent schools are proposed.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 109 Number 1, 2007, p. 1-23
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12715, Date Accessed: 12/16/2017 11:47:30 AM

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About the Author
  • Diane Hall
    University of Pennsylvania
    E-mail Author
    DIANE M. HALL, Ph.D., is a lecturer and Program Coordinator of the Master’s Program in Psychological Services at the University of Pennsylvania. Her clinical and research work explores the roles of race, gender, and development on adolescents in their romantic and interpersonal relationships and the roles of race and gender on marginalized individuals within institutions, such as schools. Her current research involves using mixed research methods to further understand the dynamics of adolescent dating violence and to understand the ways in which schools address healthy relationships and relationship violence.
  • Howard Stevenson
    University of Pennsylvania
    HOWARD C. STEVENSON is an Associate Professor and Director of the Professional Counseling and Psychology Program (PCAP) in the Applied Psychology and Human Development Division at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. His research and consultation work identifies cultural strengths that exist within families and mobilizes those strengths to improve the psychological adjustment of children and adolescents using communities and neighborhoods as the major vehicles of support and social change.
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