Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Diversity in White: An Autoethnographic Case Study of Experienced Diversity and (Un‐)Silencing

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Abstract:  Drawing on Sara Ahmed’s observation that the one who files a complaint ultimately becomes perceived as the problem, this article exposes the processes of silencing that occur within academia—particularly regarding issues of diversity, racism, and equality, while also exploring how un‐silencing can occur in such a context. Despite committing to diversity and equality, academic institutions and their decision‐making mechanisms are still largely led by white middle‐class individuals with little understanding of intersectional inequalities, thus (re)producing mechanisms that silence those who experience discrimination and inequality. I apply methods such as autoethnography and interpretive textual analysis to challenge dominant (diversity) narratives that perpetuate silencing. Based on memory notes and (in)formal correspondence, the article describes the long process of silencing after an initial experience of discrimination to reveal common institutional patterns and how complainants feel trapped in a labyrinth and consequently forced to “give up.”

Keywords:  complaint; discrimination; diversity; dynamics of exclusion; intersectionality; juxtaposing narratives; racism; (un)silencing; white feminism



© Faime Alpagu. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.