Sharing Stories: A Study of African American Students In a Predominantly White Teacher Education Program

This qualitative study explores the experiences of Jessica Smith and Donna West (fictitious names), two African American students in a predominantly white teacher education program at “Midwest University.” Interviews and field observations illuminated these students’ frequent encounters with overt racism, as well as what J. King (1991) calls “dysconscious racism”--a form of racism that tacitly accepts dominant white norms and privileges. Jessica’s and Donna’s experiences with racism at MU underscored for them the importance of addressing issues of diversity and racial inequality in their own classrooms. Moreover, both women noted that the interviews conducted for this study deepened their resolve to bring diversity issues into the classroom by helping them to put their experiences into perspective and to clarify their own beliefs and goals. Instructors and researchers need to continue this effort to hear the stories that students of color have to tell.