Date of this Version
Published in Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering 28(2):31–52 (2022).
Despite significant investment in expanding post-secondary access and success for racially minoritized populations within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, persistent educational disparities remain. While the literature has importantly identified and described the myriad ways in which students of color experience exclusion within STEM fields on the basis of race (and, perhaps, other social identity statuses), this area of scholarship is not always theoretically grounded in an understanding of racial hierarchies, processes of racialization, or theories of race and racism. That is, despite the abundant literature on students of color in STEM, there is comparatively limited theoretical attention to race itself, which limits conceptual understanding of the complexities associated with navigating and negotiating STEM contexts. For example, an emphasis on the presumed detrimental or beneficial experiences and outcomes associated with racial minority status may oversimplify the complexity of how race and racism are subjectively experienced at the individual level. Specifically, an individual’s attempt to understand, navigate, negotiate, or reappraise their racialized status and persist in an inherently stratified, racialized system of educational opportunity is lost when applying essentialist ideas about race, thus reinforcing dichotomous ideas about advantageous or detrimental consequences of racial minority status. To address this, this paper advances a new conceptual model— the racial reappraisal framework—that more fully accounts for the complex cognitive work students of color engage in when they consider and experience racialization and racism.