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Lydia Koku '18, Sociology and Educational Studies (Honors)

The Burdens They Carry: How Black College Students Resist and Internalize Received Messages about Race and Racism

At predominantly white institutions, Black students often engage in various forms of on-campus activism in order to affect change. This presentation highlights one key finding from the last chapter of my thesis, which examines how 10 Black students at Bryn Mawr and Haverford make meaning of the work they do in response to racism. Seven of ten students have internalized a definition of activism that solely refers to engagement in protests, boycotts and demonstrations. Students who do not partake in these activities feel burdened to perform their allyship or leadership-- to the detriment of their mental health and sense of belonging.