Black/White Biracial Student Socialization in Higher Education

Williams, Willie, Education - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Pusser, Brian, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

This mixed-methods research is an investigation into whether an environment of integration and involvement exists for biracial students in higher education and particularly, to what degree such an environment of socialization was created by a the university targeted in this study. More exactly, does the university under study here, as an organization, provide the awareness and support required for biracial students to negotiate normative contexts and experience involvement and integration—are Black/white biracial students socialized at the university? The concepts of higher education as well as belonging and identity, inextricable components of college student socialization, are addressed. There was found to be a conspicuous structural separation of and consequential gap between the Office of University Student Engagement (OUSE) and the Office of Operations for Students of African Heritage (OOSAH) potentially a remnant and indicative of the University’s historically reactive stance on issues of equality. Also, the data reveal an employment of socialization processes founded on traditional racial classifications (hypodescent) and historical perceptions (ocular determination) that negatively impact students’ college experience and socialization.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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