Twins Separated at Birth? Critical Moments in Cross-Race Mentoring Relationships

Stephanie A. Fryberg, Lou Ann Gerken

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In preparing to write this chapter, the mentor revealed to the mentee that due to the interesting content of our initial conversations, she had saved all the emails exchanged since early in the mentee’s junior faculty tenure. We thought these emails presented a unique opportunity to look back at the development of the mentoring relationship and to closely examine how we negotiated particularly difficult situations, what we refer to as critical moments. The title, for instance, comes from a set of emails partly about race. We realized early on that we could not pretend that race was not an issue, and so we made it part of the relationship. In talking about difference in the way that we approached our personal and professional lives, LouAnn (mentor) wrote, “What? You don’t think we’re twins separated at birth?" In a good-humored response intended to emphasize the difficulties that race adds to life in the academy, Steph (mentee) replied, “If we were twins separated at birth, I definitely got the short end of the stick.”.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUnlikely Allies in the Academy
Subtitle of host publicationWomen of Color and White Women in Conversation
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781136487828
ISBN (Print)9780415809030
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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