This chapter intends to provide a reflexive discussion of the experience I loosely refer to as the ‘supervisory relationship breakdown’, which led me to withdraw from a Professional Doctorate in the penultimate year of completion. The event left an indelible impact upon me; a reminder of my blackness, the contrast between that and the ivory tower of academia and the emotional toil I endured as each incident unfolded, ultimately leading to my exit and the shattering of my emotional wellbeing. The term ‘supervisory relationship breakdown’ is a superficial reference to a complex entanglement of what I deemed to be dysconscious racism and attempts situated historically to control people of colour through education. I will explore how I as a black woman in academia believe I am perceived through a dysconscious racial lens, a lens shaped by a perception to maintain white privilege. I posit how a misalignment existed between who I am and who I was perceived to be by my doctoral supervisor. The space between this misalignment became filled with inequity, tension and oppression, culminating in the relationship breakdown. I present an ‘implosion’ of the relationship as a metaphor for the embodied affect having to withdraw from the doctorate had on me; it felt as though my ‘self’ – body, mind and spirit – were broken, in a state of collapse which I did not know how I would recover from. I conclude with support and renewed hope, I returned to academia and found an alternative approach for completing my doctorate.
Walker, S. (2020), "Racism in Academia: (How to) Stay Black, Sane and Proud as the Doctoral Supervisory Relationship Implodes", Majors, R., Carberry, K. and Ransaw, T.S. (Ed.) The International Handbook of Black Community Mental Health, Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 93-111. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-83909-964-920201007Download as .RIS
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