"A Fly in the Buttermilk": Descriptions of University Life by Successful Black Undergraduate Students at a Predominately White Southeastern University
- The Journal of Higher Education
- The Ohio State University Press
- Volume 75, Number 4, July/August 2004
- pp. 420-445
- Additional Information
Although many predominantly white universities exert great effort to recruit minority students, statistics regarding retention and graduation for these students are disturbing. Previous research indicates that academic concerns are not paramount in the attrition of minority students, suggesting that greater attention must be given educational experiences of black students over and above academic matters. Using in-depth phenomenological interviewing, 11 graduating seniors from diverse majors were asked to describe salient incidents of their university experience. These interviews were transcribed verbatim and subjected to hermeneutic interpretation by an interdisciplinary research group. Dominant in student descriptions of their experiences were five themes: (1) "It happens every day": Unfairness/Sabotage/Condescension; (2) "You have to initiate the conversation"; (3) "They seem the same; I'm the one who's different"; (4) "I have to prove I'm worthy to be here"; and (5) "Sometimes I'm not even here/Sometimes I have to represent every black student": Invisibility and Supervisibility.