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Narrating Race and Identities from the Periphery: Diversity, Dilemma, and Discourses

The Crisis of Race in Higher Education: A Day of Discovery and Dialogue

ISBN: 978-1-78635-710-6, eISBN: 978-1-78635-709-0

ISSN: 1479-3644

Publication date: 18 December 2016

Abstract

This chapter is an inquiry into the paradoxes in discourses of ethnicity and race as well as of diversity and inclusion, centering on current movements in higher education. It aims to problematize the essentialized racial structure in American social discourses while re-evaluating academic institutions’ approaches to diversity. With a focus on Asian American students, it employs student narrations and statistical evidence to underline the neglected aspects of the heterogeneity, hybridity, and marginalization of “Asians.” The complex diversity among “Asians” and their ambiguous positionality provide insights into the challenges and paradoxes of our conceptions and practices of ethnicity, race, and diversity in general. On the one hand, I argue about the risk of prevalent practices that, to varying degrees, reconsolidate the black-white dichotomy; as they constantly strengthen disparities between the two races under the premises of the homogeneity within each category, they exclude the experiences of non-black minorities in social spheres. On the other hand, I challenge the disjuncture of diversity in theory versus in practice. While calling for a multiracial coalition to practice diversity and inclusion, I underscore the salience of unbiased perspectives in pedagogical approaches, in which, interethnicity and multiraciality are promoted, as hybrid identities beyond race are recognized. This de-Eurocentric approach ultimately aims to undermine racial essentialization and white supremacy.

Citation

Gao-Miles, L. (2016), "Narrating Race and Identities from the Periphery: Diversity, Dilemma, and Discourses", The Crisis of Race in Higher Education: A Day of Discovery and Dialogue (Diversity in Higher Education, Vol. 19), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 43-58. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-364420160000019003

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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