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The Value of Critical Research in Higher Education Essay

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Critical inquiry can add depth to our knowledge of higher education and the inequities inherent within our current educational system. This depth comes from the insights critical inquiry brings to light by looking at how the majority or group in power uses their power to make it seem socially acceptable to discriminate against minorities and keep inequitable systems in place. Critical inquiry looks at those on the inequitable side of the experience, although it is not without its flaws, or at least perceived flaws. I find it interesting that critical inquiry does not necessarily attempt to address the ways in which we can make our educational systems more equitable, nor does it attempt to be neutral. It does not attempt to give us the how, only a snapshot of what is happening and how inequalities affect those people in the minority. “Whereas Critical Theory aims at fostering human emancipation, it remains incapable of specifying a political action-strategy for social change. “ (Corradetti, 2011) It seems we leave this task to other forms of inquiry, so the role of critical inquiry is simply to uncover the problems, not to solve them.
Given we cannot always learn possible solutions, just what can we learn from critical research in higher education? It looks like we can certainly learn some inconvenient and uncomfortable truths. Just from the readings in class, my eyes and heart have been open to an incredible amount about what it is like to be a part of just a handful of different minorities. As someone in a position of relatively little power and in the minority as a female, but in the majority on the race issue, I can see the positions of both sides, minority and majority, to a point. The blockades of the majority are m...


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...ation, 84(4), 544-568.
Solórzano, D., Ceja, M. & Yosso, T. (2001). Critical race theory, racial microaggressions, and campus racial climate: The experiences of African American college students. The Journal of Negro Education, 69(1/2), 60 – 73.
Solórzano, D. G., and Villalpando, O. (1998). “Critical Race Theory, Marginality, and the Experiences of Students of color in Higher Education.” In C. A. Torres and T. A. Mitchell (eds.), Sociology of Education: Emerging Perspectives. New York: State University of New York Press.
Steele, C. & Aronson, J. (1995). Stereotype threat and the intellectual test performance of African Americans. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 797-811.
Villalpando, O. (2004). Practical considerations of critical race theory and Latino critical theory for Latino college students. New Directions for Student Services, 105, 41 – 50.



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