1st Edition

Unlikely Allies in the Academy
Women of Color and White Women in Conversation

Edited By

Karen L. Dace

ISBN 9780415809054
Published April 3, 2012 by Routledge
216 Pages

USD $46.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

A CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title 2012!

Unlikely Allies in the Academy brings the voices of women of Color and White women together for much-overdue conversations about race. These well-known contributors use narrative to expose their stories, which are at times messy and always candid. However, the contributors work through the discomfort, confusion, and frustration in order to have honest conversations about race and racism.

The narratives from Chicanas, Indigenous, Asian American, African American, and White women academicians explore our past, present, and future, what separates us, and how to communicate honestly in an effort to become allies. Chapters discuss the need to interrupt and disrupt the norms of interaction and engagement by allowing for the messiness of discomfort in frank discussion. The dialogues model how to engage in difficult dialogues about race and begin to illuminate the unspoken misunderstandings about how White women and women of Color engage one another. This valuable book offers strategies, ideas, and the hope for moving toward true alliances in the academy and to improve race relations. This important resource is for Higher Education administrators, faculty, and scholars grappling with the intersectionality of race and gender as they work to understand, study, and create more inclusive climates.

Table of Contents


Ronald B. Scott


PART I: Origins, Problems and the Need for Conversation

  1. What Makes Cross-Race Alliances Unlikely? Angelina E. Castagno, Marquita T. Chamblee, Pamela Huang Chao, Karen L. Dace, LouAnn Gerken, Liz Leckie, Kristi Ryujin, Theresa L. Torres, Malia Villegas and Rachelle Winkle-Wagner
  2. A White Woman Talks to White Women, Frances E. Kendall
  3. PART II: Women of Color Talk

  4. On Friendship, Kinship and Skinship: Healing Relationships Between Indigenous and White Women Scholars, Adreanne Ormond and Malia Villegas
  5. The Whiteness of Truth and the Presumption of Innocence, Karen L. Dace
  6. On Becoming Allies: Opportunities and Challenges in Creating Alliances Between White Women and Women of Color in the Academy, Marquita T. Chamblee
  7. A Latina Testimonio: Challenges as an Academic, Issues of Difference and a Call for Solidarity with White Female Academics, Theresa L. Torres
  8. What Do I Do With All of Your Tears? Karen L. Dace
  9. PART III: White Women Talk

  10. Too Much History Between Us, Peggy McIntosh
  11. Friends in Deed, Friendship Indeed? Liz Leckie
  12. Moments of Suspension and Other Instances of Whiteness in the Academy, Angelina E. Castagno
  13. Using Tenure as a White Woman: Speaking Truth to Power, Marybeth Gasman 
  14. PART IV: Women of Color and White Women in Conversation

  15. Are We There Yet? Trust, Faith and the Power of a Common Goal, Kristi Ryujin and Martha Sonntag Bradley
  16. Twins Separated at Birth? Critical Moments in Cross-Race Mentoring Relationships, Stephanie A. Fryberg and LouAnn Gerken
  17. Play on White: The Intimate Politics of (Be)Longing, Karen Lee Ashcraft and Lisa A. Flores
  18. What’s Love Got to Do With It? Pamela Huang Chao and Elizabeth Cassanos
  19. Race at First Sight: The Funding of Racial Scripts Between Black and White Women, Lori D. Patton and Rachelle Winkle-Wagner


View More



Karen L. Dace is Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.


"This must-read book for all, in and out of the academy, opens with the contributors' candid responses about the status of cross-race relations among women and the challenges associated with creating alliances across race. Five women of color and four white women pull readers in as they engage in conversations, inviting readers to listen to and continue the discussions across campuses. These conversations are long overdue; it is time for dialogue. Summing up: Essential." - A. A. Hodge, Buffalo State College in CHOICE

"This book is a critical addition to the bookshelf of anyone interested in the dynamics of interracial feminist alliances or the role those alliances play in creating more a more just academy." - On Campus with Women

"The brave contributors to this project expose what separates women of Color and White women in the academy. They take this discussion a step further, doing the heavy lifting of communicating honestly and directly with the goals of, at least, mutual understanding. Women of Color and White women are provided an opportunity and may, following the lead provided here, move from unlikely to probable allies working together to make the system inclusive." - From the foreword by Ronald B. Scott, Associate Professor of Communication and Associate Vice President for Institutional Diversity, Miami University

"In Unlikely Allies in the Academy, Dace and her colleagues present raw and disconcerting realities that many of us will recognize as our truth in managing relationships between women of color and white women. The authors have placed themselves in the vulnerable position of being judged for their own progress in becoming allies, making this volume full of significant lessons for us all." - Anna Ortiz, Professor of Educational Leadership, California State University, Long Beach