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CoastLine: Being a Woman of Color in Academia


North Carolina ranks 9th in the nation for most racial progress:  that’s according to a new analysis published by WalletHub, a personal finance website that frequently publishes analyses based on demographic statistics.

The indicators include voter turnout among African Americans vs. whites.  North Carolina took first place there for its numbers in the 2012 presidential election.  That was before the heavily-challenged voter ID law went into effect.  In the 2016 presidential election, turnout among African American voters was down by more than 8% in early voting.

All of the indicators considered in the WalletHub study, however, are quantitative, according to a company spokesperson.  And they don’t take into account qualitative factors such as North Carolina’s new voting law or the experience of being a person of color in a predominantly white environment.  

Have you ever walked into a room to be part of meeting and been mistaken for the maid or custodian?  Have you been accused of plagiarism on a project on which you'd worked hard to develop original theories?  If you’re a person of color and female in an institution of higher education -- the answer to those questions is very possibly"yes".

On this edition of CoastLine, we hear from two women – both professors – both African-American - who have navigated the halls of higher education as students and, later, as members of the faculty.


Cerise Glenn, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in Communications Studies at the University of North Carolina - Greensboro.  She is also the Program Director of  African-American African Diaspora Studies.  She contributed a chapter to the book, Presumed Incompetent:  The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia.

Candace Thompson, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the College of Education at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington.   She has taught the social foundations of education and multicultural education courses for undergraduate and graduate teacher education students and has published articles in the Journal for Diversity in Higher Education, Teaching Education, and The High School Journal.


Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.