A Research Companion
Edited by Mustafa F. Özbiligin
Chapter 1: Effects of the Experience of Inequality, Exclusion and Discrimination on Scholarship
Myrtle P. Bell* INTRODUCTION Doctoral students and junior faculty are faced with many decisions about their careers and scholarship, and for people interested in equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), those decisions may be even more critical than they are for people interested in other fields. Although perceptions of EDI as a field are improving, choosing it as a focal area is not always easy, comfortable, or encouraged. For some, however, choosing to focus on EDI is the only possible choice. As a doctoral student who already knew that doing such research was likely to be stigmatized, I was also encouraged to think carefully about being ‘the Black woman doing diversity research’ by those concerned about my future. Despite the words of caution, I knew that such research was what I had to do – it was really the only choice for me. I was indeed ‘born into the struggle’ (Mabuza, quoted in Upton, 1995, p. 618). As an American Black female, I had been living and doing diversity work all my life and had countless ideas, untested hypotheses, and life experiences with which to develop more. Life experiences generate passion about the topic, which is invaluable in generating ideas and also in giving one persistence in the face of rejection, criticism, and, at times, deep discouragement about the persistence and ubiquity of inequality. In this chapter, I consider some of the issues relevant to choosing to focus on the field of EDI for one’s academic career. I begin by briefly discussing...
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