McDowell, Jacqueline (2008-05). Head black woman in charge: An investigation of how black female athletic directors negotiate their race, gender, and class identities. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon

abstract

  • Framed as an instrumental case study, the purpose of this investigation was to understand how a select group of women, Black female athletic directors, define and negotiate their race, gender, and class identities. Data was collected via a qualitative indepth semi-structured interview methodology. The women who were chosen for this research are Black female athletic directors of NCAA Division I, II, and III intercollegiate athletic departments. The data analysis consisted of coding the data at two levels: first-level coding and pattern coding, and following the coding process, the emergent findings were compared with the identity negotiation theory (i.e. selfverification and behavioral confirmation processes) in order to understand how the Black female athletic directors negotiated their race, gender, and class identities. This investigation found that Black women athletic directors used two different denotations (i.e. African American and Black) to reference their racial identity, and race was the most salient identity because of their upbringings, childhood experiences, and dealings with racism. All of the women are heterosexual, but insufficient data did not allow a full understanding how they define their gender identity. In describing their class status, the majority of the women came from a traditionally defined lower socioeconomic class background, but as a result of their athletic director appointment they now reside in the middle or upper middle economic class status. In understanding how Black female athletic directors negotiate their identities within and outside the athletic department, and what factors are associated with the negotiation of their identities, this investigation found that the Black women athletic directors had to establish, maintain, and change their race, gender, and class identities with the utilization of various self-verification and behavioral confirmation strategies. These negotiations were conducted in response to the expectations that ensued as a result of their role in a leadership position, lesbian, intra- and inter-racial interactions, and exposure to lesbian, Mammy, and Sapphire stereotypes.
  • Framed as an instrumental case study, the purpose of this investigation was to
    understand how a select group of women, Black female athletic directors, define and
    negotiate their race, gender, and class identities. Data was collected via a qualitative indepth
    semi-structured interview methodology. The women who were chosen for this
    research are Black female athletic directors of NCAA Division I, II, and III
    intercollegiate athletic departments. The data analysis consisted of coding the data at two
    levels: first-level coding and pattern coding, and following the coding process, the
    emergent findings were compared with the identity negotiation theory (i.e. selfverification
    and behavioral confirmation processes) in order to understand how the Black
    female athletic directors negotiated their race, gender, and class identities.
    This investigation found that Black women athletic directors used two different
    denotations (i.e. African American and Black) to reference their racial identity, and race
    was the most salient identity because of their upbringings, childhood experiences, and
    dealings with racism. All of the women are heterosexual, but insufficient data did not allow a full understanding how they define their gender identity. In describing their class
    status, the majority of the women came from a traditionally defined lower
    socioeconomic class background, but as a result of their athletic director appointment
    they now reside in the middle or upper middle economic class status. In understanding
    how Black female athletic directors negotiate their identities within and outside the
    athletic department, and what factors are associated with the negotiation of their
    identities, this investigation found that the Black women athletic directors had to
    establish, maintain, and change their race, gender, and class identities with the utilization
    of various self-verification and behavioral confirmation strategies. These negotiations
    were conducted in response to the expectations that ensued as a result of their role in a
    leadership position, lesbian, intra- and inter-racial interactions, and exposure to lesbian,
    Mammy, and Sapphire stereotypes.

publication date

  • May 2008