The purpose of this research project was to gain a deeper understanding of the
lived experience of faculty of color. More specifically, this project explores how
diversity-related workload expectations impact faculty of color who work in
predominantly white community colleges. Known by various descriptors, the term
used in this research project to capture additional diversity-related workload requests experienced by faculty of color is “cultural taxation.” The “technique” or method used in this study to document the experiences of faculty of color in predominantly white community colleges was narrative testimonios. The use of narratives was important because this project looked at the degree to which diversity-related work role expectations and experiences personally and professionally impact faculty of color in
predominantly white institutions. The following were used as the guiding questions in capturing, through culturally appropriate and respectful human interaction, the lived
personal and professional experiences of faculty of color:
• Have you had any experiences with “cultural taxation?” • Describe from both personal and professional perspectives, your experiences
working in predominantly white institutions?
• What techniques have you tried in order to achieve a sense of balance in your
personal and professional lives?
Five primary themes emerged from the analysis of the data collected from the
narrative testimonios. The five primary themes are all connected to the concept of
“cultural taxation.” Whereas scholars previously established clear and concise
parameters to identify and define “cultural taxation,” the complex series of themes that
emerged from this research project provide a rich “fleshing out” of the concept. The
five primary themes are as follows: 1) Cultural Taxation and Racist Bigotry, 2)
Cultural Taxation and Convenience, 3) Cultural Taxation and Conscious Choice, 4)
Cultural Taxation and Ignorance, and 5) Cultural Taxation and Pragmatism.
The findings encourage community college leaders to engage in critical
dialogue about structural changes that need to occur to ensure a work environment
where all employees can engage in collaboration and partnership without a small
number of employees becoming overworked in the area of diversity-related initiatives.
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