Bridges, Jessica. “"Do You Comb Your Hair?””, Boston College, 2020. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:108770.
This study contributes to the growing literature on the effectiveness of diversity and inclusion efforts in organizations. Previous studies focus on D&I efforts for full-time staff and employees. This qualitative and intersectional study examined first-generation black students in corporatized organizations that are predominantly white through interviews where they could share their experiences with organizational structures and cultures to determine the impact that it has on the performance and identity of black interns. This study assessed organizational cultures of three kinds: exclusive, transitional, and inclusive. Using these organizational cultures, the study determined the way that racism and whiteness culture affects the intern experience. The participants had various relationships with recruitment strategies, diversity discussions, navigating professional and personal networking, negotiating working identity and imposter syndrome, stereotype threat, microaggressions, and professional development. Overall, organizations are engaging in practices that alienate and suppress black student interns while encouraging assimilation. In inclusive organizations, black interns feel like they can be their authentic selves and progress more successfully because of the acceptance of their identity and their ability to share their experiences with that identity.