Humboldt Journal of Social Relations


The absence of Black male professionals in higher education pose a serious challenge to diversity and social justice in colleges and universities. Not only does this paucity reinforce the dominant racial system within these institutions and contribute to the marginalization and discrimination experienced by these men, the lack of Black men in professional positions has serious implications for the retention and graduation of students of color. Yet, despite their important role, very little research exists about their experiences as professionals within institutions of higher education. This study fills this gap by examining Black men working as faculty, administrative or professional staff at a large research university. We found that: 1) these men felt they did experience racism in their workplace; 2) the lack of other Black men in the professional ranks and the disparate treatment they received made them question both the institution’s commitment to diversity and themselves; and 3) they were resigned to this being the way of life and believed part of their job is to prepare the next generation. The experiences described by our respondents suggest that higher education institutions in the United States reflect the nation’s racialized social structure and the broader society’s exclusion of members of nondominant social groups. We conclude with recommendations for making institutions of higher education more diverse and inclusive for all underrepresented groups.