Date of Award

Spring 6-17-2016

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of arts (BA)


Global Honors

First Advisor

Christopher Knaus


Predominantly White institutions (PWIs) of higher education exacerbate racial discrimination of both Black students and faculty while maintaining the status quo of White supremacy. Furthermore, Black students that gain entrance to PWIs are silenced due to a White-centered pedagogy and the resulting absence of blackness that exists at these institutions. This paper is driven by the goal to analyze the systems in place that encourage Black students to lose integral parts of their identities when they become students at PWIs. This is done by analyzing the ways in which racial discrimination impacts and ultimately silences Black students. This begins by clarifying how Black students have historically been and continue to be excluded from predominantly White universities. Then there is an examination of how the absence of blackness, through the exclusion of Black faculty and authors, and therefore Black identities, contributes to the exclusion of Black students. The final section addresses how the White-centered pedagogy preferred by predominantly White universities relies upon Standard English, which further silences Black students. The paper then concludes with suggestions on how to go forward in education while empowering Black students, while applying and mirroring my own experiences to those of Black students across campuses worldwide.