Open-access E-journal
for International Scholars,
Practitioners, and Students of
Multicultural Education

ISSN: 1559-5005
Copyright © 1999-2006
by Electronic Magazine of
 Multicultural Education

(Fall 2006: vol. 8, no. 2)
Theme: Multicultural Education in Higher Education

Abbate-Vaughn • Jensen   Oden & Casey Oliver et al
  Phillion et al Robinson-Neal


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Professional Literature

Brown, C.  & Freeman, K. (2004). Black Colleges: New Perspectives on Policy and Practice. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishing. 256 pp., ISBN: 1567505864 (hbk). $92.95

This edited volume covers a wide range of topics pertaining to historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU's): e.g., history, changing student demographics and missions, student achievement, financial aid and educational opportunities, the digital divide, White and Black faculty, strategic planning, and comparison between Black colleges and universities in the United States and those in South Africa. The collection of academic papers not only provides comprehensive information on HBCU's, but also critical analyses of the past, present, and future of this historical product grown out of the socio-political-economic-cultural segregation of Blacks in the society. Although this particular category of higher education is historically and symbolically tied to a particular racial group, changing student and faculty demographics complicates the identity of HBCU's, which the book does not neglect.  The book contains 11 scholarly papers from eclectic traditions of historical, statistical, qualitative, and literature-based research. Three appendixes--a directory of HBCU's, a directory of predominantly Black colleges and universities, and a bibliography of further readings on the subject--add a value to this book.  Scholars and students who are interested in the topic of Black colleges and universities will find the book resourceful and enlightening.  


Chesler, M., Crowfoot J., and Lewis, A.  (2005). Challenging Racism in Higher Education. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 352pp., ISSN:0-7425-2457 $29.95

As they admit in the introduction, it is not easy for three White, upper-middle class professors to write about the abundant racism that continues to be ignored in the university. However, Chesler, Lewis and Crowfoot offer a sensitive and moving depiction not only of the overt injustice of racism but also of its apparent acceptance within the Ivory Tower. The text starts with a clear and succinct history of institutionalized racism, segregation, and inequality within the context of American history before giving examples of modern racism by telling the stories of contemporary students, teachers, and administrative personnel of color. Frankly, this is a dense and sometimes difficult read simply because of the vast amount of information presented in a work that could easily extend to several volumes. However, the authors bind themselves within to their own convictions: they offer multiple suggestions by which to diagnose the level of multicultural practice on any given university campus. They follow this with suggestions for how to take inventory of continued progress toward equality with multicultural audits, questions, and challenges for faculty and administration. The text also suggests some programs that have been initiated by students in the cause of higher education equity. The authors encourage and caution the reader: often, compromising and agreeing to small, manageable changes results in the traditional majority maintaining power. The authors seem to suggest that worthwhile reform comes with a commitment to “tempered radicalism” -- “the advocacy of radical changes in a tempered way” (p. 170). This book will be a useful tool for scholars and administrators who want to move their campuses toward more equitable and culturally diverse institutions of higher learning.


Marx, S.  (2006). Revealing the Invisible: Confronting Passive Racism in Teacher Education.  New York, NY: Routledge. 196 pp., ISBN: 0-415-95343-X (pbk).  $31.95  

Professor Sherry Marx of Utah State University invites the reader to follow her through a large-scale experiment. Throughout the course of one semester, Marx follows nine women through their teacher training and slowly, but systematically, exposes the covert racism that emerges as they posture themselves in the midst of poverty, race, ethnicity, and language barriers. These women comprise a unique study because the women themselves are very diverse in term of race, religion, ethnic heritage and worldview. Because each woman is undergoing teacher training in predominantly non-White schools, Marx focuses on what exactly comprises the culture of “Whiteness” and what that merits those who count themselves part of it – with or without the intention to do so. The recognition of the self's involvement in this “Whiteness” culture is as difficult for the reader as it was for the author's students. Through clear, sincere writing, and a riveting argument, Marx makes it plain that in order to shift the current inequity of education, teachers need first to shift the way they perceive themselves and their tasks. Early in the text, Marx contrasts patterns of thought that generally remain unaddressed in teacher training: positive associations with whiteness and negative associations with color (these examples hail largely from fairy tales and language patterns). In the final chapter, she returns to this theme in order to specifically address how to improve teacher education and reshape the current understanding of whiteness and color. This book, although geared primarily for professionals guiding student teacher and teacher-training curriculum, is a valuable resource for anyone who considers a career in education.


Moody, J.  (2004). Faculty Diversity: Problems and Solutions. New York, NY: Routledge Falmer. 264 pp., ISBN: 0415948673 (paperback). $24.95

To Moody, formerly a professor and administrator and currently a consultant, the distinction between two terms--"majority" and "minority"--is intentional and useful in indicating the differential political power with which each group is endowed. By contrasting disadvantages that the minority academics face with advantages that the majority faculty enjoy knowingly or unknowingly, she reveals inequality impacting on minority faculty within academia and outside the ivy walls. If readers allow themselves to be awakened to this reality, they will find useful and enlightening the practical strategies that she suggests for recruiting, retaining, and mentoring traditionally underrepresented minority faculty in higher education. She discusses "good" practices, provides composite scenarios of "bad" practices for case analysis, and presents perspectives of minority professors in the United States.  The author also boldly tackles broader issues of inequality by proposing "macrocosmic and microcosmic" remedies to "eradicate the castelike features embedded in our nation's economic, social, and academic spheres" (p. 159).  She does all of these with passion and compassion to sharpen readers' awareness of diversity, discrimination, and inequality in academia and to help bring about changes.  The value of the book lies not only in its practicality, but also in the theoretical depth drawn from a wide range of sociological, anthropological, psychological, political, and educational literature.  The book, written in accessible language, should be read by all higher education administrators and faculty members--both majority and minority--regardless of their position in diversity matters.  At the end of the reading, everyone will emerge more educated and inspired for further dialogue. 


Valverde, L.  (2003). Leaders of Color in Higher Education: Unrecognized Triumphs in Harsh Institutions.  Walnut Creek, CA:  Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 160pp., ISSN:0-7591-0542 $27.95

Leaders of color and female leaders in higher education represent pioneers according to the author Valverde who has spent 35 years as an educator and educational administrator.  Drawing upon existing literature, his experience, and interviews with other minority leaders, he concludes that they have overcome multiple disadvantages and adversaries to reach their current positions and and will need to continue exhaustive and often self-doubting fights. His general discussion of difficulties that minority leaders face in higher education is informative.  Particularly insightful are several chapters devoted to specific groups such as "African American leaders," "Latino leaders," "women of color," "Asian American leaders," and "American Indians."  Leaders in these categories share their experiences with subtle and explicit stereotypes, prejudice, and discriminatory practices in higher education.  Their personal stories indicate that their intellectual and leadership capacities were questioned more harshly than the majority faculty and undervalued at times.  Dehumanizing treatment of minority professionals, such as unwarranted stops by the police, also extends beyond the ivory towers, which contributes to their weariness.  It is striking to see that these highly accomplished professionals are not exempt from either the subtle or the blatant stereotypes and prejudice that ordinary minorities encounter on the street.  Challenges and dilemmas that both the male and female leaders of color share in the book become the basis of 19 lessons that the author offers to help other leaders of color and women survive and thrive in their current and future leadership roles.  The book ends with a hopeful note that the future will be brighter for the next generation of leaders of color and women. Although this conclusion may reflect his personal hope and desire and although much work needs to be done to realize such a hope, higher education as a thriving place for leaders of color and women is a worthy dream to proffer.