DIVERSITY VS. THE DOCTORATE (1967-2008): THE EXPERIENCES OF BLACK AND LATINO STUDENTS THEN AND NOW
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Since its inception in 1965, Affirmative Action has played a pivotal role in integrating predominantly white institutions of higher education with Black and Brown faces. However, at the doctoral level only marginal increases have been made over the past 30 years in the number of Black and Latino students awarded Ph.D.s. In an effort to better understand the historical phenomenon of under-representation at the doctoral level among Black and Latino students, a qualitative research study was designed that examined both the historical evolution of their lived experiences at predominantly white institutions, and the forms of capital they used to navigate through the academy. Understanding and comparing how these students have been able to navigate through these historically excluded spaces was a key goal of this research because it leant itself to the construction of a "new story" of higher education. In addition to understanding their lived experiences and their use of social/cultural capital, their narratives were also used to explore the broader concept of diversity and how it has functioned within American culture over time. The cultural landscape of higher education was an ideal locale to investigate the past and current state of race in America because much of what happens within university and college settings reflects the broader race relations of society at large. Affirmative Action served as the backdrop to construct the two historical time periods from which I drew my study participants: "Affirmative Action Implementation" and "Affirmative Action Dismemberment." A total of eight participants were recruited according to when they started their doctoral programs and divided into two comparison groups: first generation (4) and second generation (4). Critical Race Theory (CRT), Latino Critical Race Theory (LatCRT), and a Community Cultural Wealth framework were used as the theoretical lens to situate the findings. Several patterns emerged including: race and cultural space; persistence; and social activism.