Different worlds and divergent paths: Academic careers defined by race and gender

Juanita Johnson-Bailey*, Ronald M. Cervero

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


In this article, Juanita Johnson-Bailey, a Black female professor, and Ronald M. Cervero, a White male professor, examine and contrast their academic lives by exploring how race and gender have influenced their journeys and their experiences. Using journal excerpts, personal examples, and a comparative list of privileges, the authors present a picture of their different realities at a research university. The depiction of their collective forty years in academia reveals that White men and Black women are regarded and treated differently by colleagues and students. Manifestations of this disparate treatment are evident primarily in classroom and faculty interactions. An examination of the professors' relationships with people and with their institution illustrates that, overall, the Black woman is often relegated to a second-class existence characterized by hostility, isolation, and lack of respect, while the White man lives an ideal academic life as a respected scholar who disseminates knowledge, understands complexity, and embodies objectivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-332
Number of pages22
JournalHarvard Educational Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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