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Diversity expert to discuss double lives of Black women in America

Kuea Shorter-Gooden.
February 11, 2014

UPDATE: The event has been rescheduled to 7 p.m. Feb. 25 in McDaniel Lounge.

Award-winning author, psychologist and diversity expert Kumea Shorter-Gooden will discuss her book, “Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America,” at 7 p.m. Feb. 25 in McDaniel Lounge. The event is free and open to the public.

“Not all of us are aware that the phenomenon of ‘shifting’ or changing our authentic identities exists,” says Jennifer Jimenez Maraña, McDaniel’s director of diversity and multicultural affairs. “Dr. Kumea Shorter-Gooden will discuss the idea of ‘shifting’ and how it impacts not just Black women, but all of us.”

Based on the African American Women's Voices Project, the book “Shifting,” which Shorter-Gooden wrote with journalist Charisse Jones, reveals that a large number of African American women feel pressure to compromise their true selves.

 “Through the centuries, to cope with racial and gender discrimination, African American women have at times altered their speech, appearance, and behavior. They have shifted emotionally as they struggled to feel good about themselves in a hostile world. And often, in myriad ways, they have fought back,” according to the Shifting website,

Maraña’s conversations with women students and colleagues at McDaniel and other colleges about the challenges they faced as women of color sparked her interest in bringing Shorter-Gooden to campus for the talk.

“As I was thinking about programs for the spring, it made sense to invite Dr. Shorter-Gooden to share the findings of her book and reassure women of color that they were not alone in some of the feelings and experiences they were having,” she says.

Shorter-Gooden currently serves as chief diversity officer and associate vice president at the University of Maryland, College Park. Previously she was associate provost for international-multicultural initiatives at Alliant International University, located on six California and three international campuses. She was the first chief diversity officer at Alliant where she was charged with overseeing the implementation of the university's multicultural/international plan.

A University of Maryland alumna, Shorter-Gooden is a licensed psychologist and a fellow in two divisions of the American Psychological Association. She has more than 30 peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations. “Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America” (2003 HarperCollins) won the American Book Award. She is a member of the editorial boards of two journals, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology and Consulting Psychology Journal.

In addition to her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Clinical/Community Psychology from the University of Maryland, Shorter-Gooden earned a B.A. with high honors at Princeton in 1973. She was a member of the first class of women admitted as freshmen to Princeton.

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