People of color in historically white organizations continuouslynegotiate their racial identity. This negotiation may come in theform of assimilating and adapting to or actively challengingmainstream norms. In this study, thirteen student leaders of colorwere interviewed regarding their experiences in a historicallywhite student organization. The results suggest that students ofcolor undertake various behaviors in order to operate in theorganization. This research explores four behavioral strategies: 1)Oppressed Oppressor, 2) Subservience, 3) Warrior, and 4) CulturalSplit. Practical applications for white students and highereducation staff and faculty are recommended to create moreinclusive and welcoming organizations.
Laura Sánchez-Parkinson was an IGR facilitator, a projects managerfor CommonGround and facilitator for the National Institute onIntergroup Dialogue. Laura is now the program manager forresearch and development at the National Center for InstitutionalDiversity where she coordinates the Center’s research agenda,including the production of research and dissemination, as well asadministers research funding opportunities.