African American Elitism in Academe: The New Good and Bad Hair Controversy


by Fred A. Bonner, II - December 05, 2007

Much like the good and bad hair controversy of yesterday, today I have experienced the same controversies being played out among African Americans in a somewhat different context. It is in the higher education arena that I have witnessed two very disquieting phenomena, both exacting a negative impact on African American faculty. I have noticed what appears to be an ever-widening chasm developing among African American faculty; namely, professional elitism based on academic pedigree and the pervasive “only room for one” mindset that at best quells and at worst kills efforts for collaboration, esprit de corps, and a positive sense of self-efficacy and esteem. This article attempts to untangle these good and bad hair divisions in an effort to improve the climate for faculty of color, particularly African American faculty. For higher education in general and African American faculty in particular, it will become increasingly important to excoriate inequality and injustices exacted from agents not only outside, but also internal to the African American higher education community.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: December 05, 2007
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 14838, Date Accessed: 2/28/2020 1:56:27 AM

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