I continuously ask myself, “Who am I? What am I? Where am I? What does all that mean for this project?”
Sometimes I forget.
Sometimes I remember so vividly that it feels like it gets in the way of “getting things done.” I still haven’t figured out the right balance. But for the purposes of this project and this dissertation and this point in my academic life, this is who I am, what I am, and where I am:
I am White. I am female. I was raised in a White, middle-class family. I have lived all over the United States and the world, and have had experiences that have challenged who I am in all those places. I am passionately committed to making the world a better, freer, and more egalitarian place…whatever that means right now. I study education policy and inquiry methodology because I have found approaches within those two disciplines that lend themselves to achieving those goals of egalitarianism.
I know sometimes I am blind to my own privilege. I know sometimes I am not aware of the effects my privilege as a White woman have on projects with which I am involved. But I try to be aware of those effects. I try to work with people who help me become more aware. But I know I’m not fully aware. Nor will I probably ever be.
Part of this project, Project: Empowerment, is an exercise in my own awareness, from both ethical and validity standpoints. I have been forced to ask myself questions like, “What are the ethical implications of me, a White woman, working for the ’empowerment’ of young, Latino/a students? What are the validity implications of that? Does my being a relative ‘outsider’ make this project and its findings or conclusions or recommendations more or less valid?”
If you want answers, I’m not sure you’ll find them here. I haven’t found them yet. Only inklings. Ideas. Possibilities. But I think those possibilities might nudge me and work with which I engage onto paths toward research that is more ethical and valid rather than less, more egalitarian rather than less, more empowering rather than less.
If all you want is my CV, here it is.
Here is my Research Statement
Read More: Meagan’s Reflections on the project