As a team of qualitative researchers, we have been conveying the narratives of White professional staff and administrators within higher education who serve as social justice advocates. Recently, we commissioned one of our Research Associates, Joe Slavens, to commence research in Australia, a nation with a rich history of racial justice as well as a sobering record of racism and its violent effects. Having landed in Perth, Western Australia in early July 2015, we already have a rich network of racial justice allies within the tertiary system.
Although we anticipate branching into different areas of research within Australia, our current question is, “What characterizes the experiences of White professional staff from institutions of higher education in Australia who are racial justice allies?” The term racial justice allies is from Reason, Roosa Millar, and Scales (2005, p. 530) and will be defined for the purposes of this study as White professional staff “who actively work against the system of oppression that maintains their power.” We will again use the power of narrative to co-construct our participants’ voices, in hopes that their stories will embolden and inspire other and future anti-racists.
As we move forward with our research, we are excited about not only furthering the knowledge that is critical to exposing and dismantling systems of oppression, but also the opportunity to do so on an international scale, alongside friends and allies from around the world. We eagerly anticipate what our Australian counterparts will teach us all!
From “Toward a model of racial justice ally development,” by R.D. Reason, E.A. Roosa Millar, & T. C. Scales, 2005, Journal of College Student Development 46(5), 530. doi: 10.1353/csd.2005.0054