Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education


International & Multicultural Education EdD

First Advisor

Susan Katz

Second Advisor

Emma Fuentes

Third Advisor

Genevieve Negron-Gonzales


A disconnect exists between intended outcomes of inclusivity on college campuses and the failure of these institutions to recognize and act against oppressive legacies on campus. Cabrera (2014) asserts that few studies have directly critiqued the policies and procedures of institutions of higher education using a whiteness framework. Aniagolu (2011) states that white women have acted as ‘co-whites’ alongside white men to sustain racialized policy, disparity in civil and social structures, and the hidden agenda of white supremacy. When using a racial and gendered intersectional lens in research, white women are a protected class, saved from the microscope of critical analysis pertaining to race and racism. Very little research specifically discusses white women’s efforts in working against racism on college campuses. The purpose of this phenomenological qualitative study was to understand how white women identified faculty and staff are engaging in anti-racism action and what they perceive as their responsibility in ending racism on their college campus. Furthermore, the study examined how the participants are negotiating their racial privilege in order to disrupt or sustain white supremacy. Data were collected via one-on-one interviews with seven participants. Four main themes emerged through this study: using strategic action and spheres of influence to create change, relationship building as critical for anti-racism development, staying engaged in anti-racism work while struggling with one’s whiteness, and connecting with their role as white women in the racial justice movement. The study uses theoretical frameworks of collective liberation and critical feminism to draw a link between white women’s cognition around racism on campus and their responsibility to act against it. The findings of this study demonstrate the pervasiveness of white supremacy in institutions of higher education and the struggles of white women to fight against racism while developing their sense of identities, professional work, and engagement as change agents. The findings also point toward ways in which white women can create small changes through collaboration, relationship building, and strategic action.