Book Reviews

Book by Glenn E. Singleton & Curtis Linton
Review by Melissa Lantta
Academic Advising
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh


What comes to mind when faced with the prospect of having a ‘Courageous Conversation’ about race? How does racial identity affect the tone of an advising session? Singleton and Linton challenge readers to confront a multitude of emotions that can affect the relationship between advisors and advisees as they examine personal thoughts and experiences about race. Although the primary audience for this book is elementary/secondary school teachers and administrators, the issues of race and racism are presented through the use of thoughtful reflections and group activities that can be easily incorporated into any advising center’s professional development schedule.

The authors affirm that racial and cultural factors play into the achievement and success more than socioeconomics “…because these racial/cultural factors significantly impact students’ vision of the future and their expectations about what school will and will not offer them” (p. 32). As campuses become more diverse, the likelihood that an advisor and advisee will be culturally different increases (Carlstrom, 2005). Since students’ experiences within higher education are placed into the hands of advisors, it is important that students be provided with equitable conditions and supported as they advance in their college careers. The first step toward achieving this is for advisors to be cognizant of racial and cultural conditions in their own lives (NACADA, 2007) and begin their anti-racist transformation (Singleton & Linton, p. 26).  

Courageous Conversations about Race explores how we can shape the learning and advising environments for all students but especially for those Singleton & Lipton refer to as “students of color” (p. xiii). Advisors must know how race, culture, and privilege influence the conversations we have with students. Readers should be prepared to feel uncomfortable as they learn about themselves through intense introspection. Singleton and Linton present examples, stories, and honest conversations, not as a way to judge, but to evoke deep thought; they want people who work with students from diverse backgrounds to examine how their interactions can promote or prohibit equity. Courageous Conversations about Race is straightforward and engaging; it should serve as a starting point for professional development activities within an advising center.  

References:

Carlstrom, A.H. (December, 2005). Preparing for Multicultural Advising Relationships. Academic Advising Today, 28(4). Retrieved May 3, 2007 from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/AAT/NW28_4.htm.

National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). (2007) Understanding Cultural Identity and Worldview Development. (Pocket Guide # 3). Manhattan, KS: National Academic Advising Association. http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Publications/pocketguide.htm#PG03


Courageous Conversations About Race: A Field Guide for Achieving Equity in Schools (2005) Book by Glenn E. Singleton & Curtis Linton. Review by Melissa Lantta. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 304 pp. Price $37.95 (paperback). ISBN # 97807619988779
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