Finding a Place for Women of Color: An Examination of Definitions of Inclusion, Neoliberalism, and Their Effects on Women of Color in Higher Education
Researcher ORCID Identifier
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© 2022 Xochitl D Husted
This qualitative study analyzed the ways in which definitions of inclusion differ among classroom actors within discussion based classrooms at Cactus College, a predominately white, small, private, liberal arts college in Southern California. The purpose of this investigation was to determine how variations in definitions of inclusion affect the experiences of women of color in higher education. The results of this study indicated that all definitions of inclusion, regardless of respondent demographics, were embedded with democratic values. These democratic values included: acknowledgement, rhetoric, participation, engagement, community, belonging, and understanding. However, women of color conceived acknowledgement differently, compared to their white counterparts, and were the only demographic of respondents to stress the importance of narrative. These differences among definitions of inclusion led to feelings of exclusion from course discussions, uncomfortability, and fear of being perceived stereotypically among women of color. Women of color were also more likely to be aware of the neoliberal nature of the push for inclusion at Cactus College, because of their encounters with racism and sexism at the college. This research highlights that the language of inclusion, utilized by Cactus College, is disingenuous and has yet to account for the unique positionalities of women of color.
Husted, Xochitl, "Finding a Place for Women of Color: An Examination of Definitions of Inclusion, Neoliberalism, and Their Effects on Women of Color in Higher Education" (2022). Pitzer Senior Theses. 135.