The creation of these groups would seem to indicate that in the face of traditional and historically-based stressors, whether on the agricultural or academic plantation as "economically exploited workers," traditional and historically-based patterns of response have emerged to ameliorate the stress produced by race/sexism. For African-American and other African diasporan women, these responses reflect learned behaviors associated with a cultural base in which cooperation and mutual support are valued, affirmed, and reinforced through proactive behaviors in the interest of the collective no matter how dispersed its members may be in the world of academe.

     As outsiders within the contemporary patriarchal academic family, their insights are invaluable in the demystification process just as the insights and revelations of many of our foremothers (and forefathers) who were employed as domestic workers in white households fostered a demystification of life in that arena. These women's narratives can enrich us all as we develop strategies for making it, degree by degree, on the rugged playing fields of American academe as "outsiders within."


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May 2000