Author Dr. Jasmine L. Harris Recalls High School Counselor’s Negative Response To Her College Aspirations
Dr. Jasmine L. Harris, author of Black Women, Ivory Tower: Revealing the Lies of White Supremacy in American Education, recalls when her high school guidance counselor was negative toward her big list of colleges she was interested in applying to and her college aspirations
Dr. Jasmine L. Harris, author of Black Women, Ivory Tower: Revealing the Lies of White Supremacy in American Education, recalls when her high school guidance counselor was negative toward her big list of colleges she was interested in applying to and her college aspirations.
Harris, an associate professor of African American studies at the University of Texas, San Antonio, details the experience she had at 17 years old in her upcoming book.
According to her explanation in Newsweek, “He called my list ‘ambitious,’” Harris told her mother at the time. The author feels that the counselor’s negative comment was made only because she was a Black student, and if she were white, the administrator would have applauded her for her hard work.
“The questioning of Black students’ accomplishments starts even before questions about college attendance come up. By the time I was a junior in high school, despite my academic achievements, it became standard to question my ability. By the time I finished my doctorate, asserting my achievements, and therefore my ability, was a required part of my daily routine,” Harris says.
Harris and her mom carefully decided on specific institutions she would apply to, which made up the 15 colleges she showed to her counselor at the time. The selection of schools was based on factorss such as her academic achievements and climate preferences. To Harris, her guidance counselor’s reaction implied that she didn’t belong in prestigious institutions.
“This unyielding non-belonging in education requires Black academics to constantly reaffirm our credentials to maintain access to predominantly white academic networks and the spaces where those networks are constructed,” she says. Her mother handled the situation the guidance counselor in a meeting the next day. “It’s handled. You will apply to the schools we agreed on,” her mother told her.
In her book, Harris addresses the scarcity of Black representation in historically white-serving colleges and universities and emphasizes the significance of Black students making connections and gaining mentorship from Black educators. The views she puts forward examine policies such as school integration that resulted from the Civil Rights Movement.
According to The Library of Congress, desegregating public schools across the United States was a major mission of the Civil Rights Movement, to ensure all students had access to first-class education. Harris posits that school integration may have led to a cycle of Black academic isolation.
Black Women, Ivory Tower: Revealing the Lies of White Supremacy in American Education is scheduled for release on Jan. 16, 2024.