We Can Speak For Ourselves: Parent Involvement and Ideologies of Black Mothers in an Urban Community Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Rhodes, Billye N.
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • This dissertation is an ethnographic project that builds on the work of feminist and critical race scholars to examine the race, class and gender politics at play during this historical moment. It is imperative to examine the perceptions that come through the everyday consumption of controlling images that help to justify U.S. Black women's oppression (Hill-Collins, 2004a, p. 47), as well as from dominant discourses of parent involvement, mothering and government literature. We Can Speak is an intervention of self-representation that provides a counternarrative from Black mothers in urban communities of Chicago. A qualitative methods approach was employed in two rounds of interviews with five women. The first round focused on both their schooling experiences and decisions they make on behalf of their children. The second round was based upon the Mothering framework (Hill-Collins, 2004a), which specifically asked the participants to explore and name the nuances of intergenerational and intercommunal relationships and support systems; family traditions and expectations; agency and activism. The interviews were coded and analyzed as narratives and coupled with the reflexive journaling of my participation as both researcher and othermother. Black feminist epistemology is the theoretical framework that directed this project, fieldwork and interpretation of my findings. This dissertation borrows the tool of counternarratives, a widely understood component of Critical Race Theory (CRT) which aims to cast doubt on the validity of accepted premises or myths, especially ones held by the majority (Delgado & Stefancic, 2001, p. 144). The narratives reflect three themes that name a specific action with a specific stakeholder: Defining Mother, Preparing Children, Navigating Institution, while a fourth theme, named Other - discusses the complexities of mothers who are further marginalized by class and intragroup expectations. The last chapter explores two questions posed by D. Soyini Madison (2005) that ask the researcher to consider broader meanings for operations of the human condition; how this work makes the greatest contribution to equity, freedom, and justice; and finally offers short prose and a poetic transcription of we.
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  • In Copyright
  • Noblit, George W.
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2012

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