chapter  1
18 Pages

Negotiating the Boundaries and Sometimes Missing the Mark: A White Researcher and a Mexican American Research Assistant

Martha and I were introduced to each other in 1992, through the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP), which provides an opportunity for talented students to pursue a research topic of interest to them, aided by a faculty member of their choice. Martha approached me at the suggestion of a colleague who was familiar with my work. According to SROP guidelines, the prospective faculty-student pair introduce themselves to one another, and on the basis of their initial conversation, decide whether they will work together. Our first meeting was a positive one; and consistent with the spirit ofSROp, our interactions that summer focused on Martha's research objectives and the ways in which I could help her achieve those objectives. In the years that followed, Martha and I developed a close personal relationship. Over time, the trust and compassion that grew out of our interactions permitted us a space in which to examine the ways in which our differing ethnicities, subjectivities, positionalities, and views of research resulted in our sometimes missing the mark with each other as we attempted to engage in collaborative research efforts.