False Diversity and Cultural Wealth : How Do First Generation College Students of Color Experience College and How Do They Deal with Their Experience?
First-generation college students of color have had an increasing presence in four year colleges and universities, which has challenged these institutions of higher education in serving a progressively diverse student population. In response to the increased enrollment of this population, higher education institutions promote a sense of false diversity on campuses, which requires that students of color embody the diversity for the institution, while the institution uses it as a mode of advertisement and self-elevation of its image. These higher education institutions fail to support these students as they continue to treat students as if they are all from the same place and have access to the same forms of cultural capital, which negates some of the forms of capital that first generation students of color possess. Thus, this study focuses on the experiences of first generation college students of color by interviewing twelve Black and Latinx first generation college students at a small Midwest four-year liberal arts college. This paper uses Sara Ahmed's conception of how organizations view diversity and how students of color embody that diversity to consider how these first-generation students of color experience a falsely diverse college campus. Additionally, this paper also uses Tara Yosso's Cultural Wealth Model to analyze how these first-generation students of color utilize the types of cultural capital they come in with, which may not be the types that higher education institutions represent, but nonetheless empower them to overcome the normative cultures and falsely diverse environments that these institutions of higher education embody.
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