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Experiences of Black African Caribbean Men (BACM) in UK Secondary and Higher Education SKOPE Graduate Conference Pembroke College, University of Oxford.

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Presentation on theme: "Experiences of Black African Caribbean Men (BACM) in UK Secondary and Higher Education SKOPE Graduate Conference Pembroke College, University of Oxford."— Presentation transcript:

1 Experiences of Black African Caribbean Men (BACM) in UK Secondary and Higher Education SKOPE Graduate Conference Pembroke College, University of Oxford 16 February 2012 Constantino Dumangane, Jr. School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University Supervisors: Prof. David James and Dr. Katy Greenland

2 Research Background BACMs underachievement in Secondary Education: Consistently achieve below the national average across all Key Stages (Coard, 1971; Gillborn, 1998; Mac an Ghaill, 1988; DfES, 2006; ONS 2006) Are 4 to 15 times more likely to be excluded than white boys depending on locality (Sewell 1997; Wright et. al. 2005) Are least likely to attain 5+ A*-C passes – of all ethnic groups Black boys (Kingdon and Cassen 2007) Are 3 times more likely to be expelled from school; nearly 4 times more likely to be arrested; 5 times more likely to be in prison; and 7 times more likely to be stopped and searched by police as compared with their white peers (DCLG 2009)

3 A Suggested Gap in Existing Research on BACMs: Very little research has focused on BACMs in schools in Wales (Crozier 2005) Very little research has addressed BACMs remembrances of their experiences in secondary education from their perspective

4 Why Research Black men in Secondary ED? To elicit and examine the secondary educational remembrances of BACMs in Wales from their perspectives – from their voices. To ascertain whether respondents feel that their gender or race had an impact on their educational achievement Possible Future Policy Implications

5 Research Rationale: To find out what BACMS identify as the factors that affected their schooling To explore issues of gender, masculinities, race and ethnicity w/respect to performativity (Goffman) of (laddishness) (Epstein, Mac an Ghaill, Renold, Francis, Gillborn, Sewell) To explore possible experiences with racism or discrimination To ascertain whether these men identified any school experiences that may have impacted their learning, future work, education or life experiences

6 MSc Research Questions What factors within and outside of secondary school do black males in Wales identify as conducive and/or discouraging to their academic success? SUB QUESTIONS INCLUDED: In what ways (if any) do race, ethnicity and gender (masculinities) impact upon BACMs ability to achieve in secondary schools in Wales? What epistemological, technical and methodological issues are associated with using qualitative mixed methods and digital stories in educational research?

7 Research Methods used: Semi-Structured Biographical Interviews Five 18 to 24 year olds Aimed at evoking narrative and biographical memories of participants secondary education

8 Research methods used (continued) : Third objects/Visual aids were used to assist in eliciting stories What are they; Why use objects/aids? Interviews were: Digitally and Video Recorded Transcribed and Coded Manually Coded using NVivo to develop themes

9 Cufflink Exercise

10 Year Book Exercise

11 Analysis: Narrative overview of participants stories Psycho Social Approach (Hollway and Jefferson) Thematic Analysis Critical Race Theory as Methodological Approach (Bell, 1987; 1992; 1996; Delgado 1995a; 1995b; 1996; Ladson- Billings, 1999; Gillborn, 2008; Gillborn and Youdell, 2000) Reflexivity And the Co-construction of Meaning (Strauss and Corbins 1990)

12 Access to Participants was … Gained through previously established contacts from my work as a Development Officer in two agencies in Cardiffs Third Sector Through contacts made at Cardiff University Randomly Speaking with/approaching Black men in Public Places (Bus Stations, Train Stations, Coffee Shops and telling them about my research) Led to a snowball effect

13 Things That I Came Prepared with: Re-confirmed all Interviews in advance and sent friendly reminders via and mobile texts Possibility of digital recording failing Had 2 recorders taping at all times Refreshments

14 Tales from the Field: What Happened? Started with 11 participants. 6 dropped out* Lateness ** Issues of Mixed Race Identity*** (4 out of 5 were Mixed Race – unexpected/unanticipated outcome) Literature Review had to be revisited Dylsexia**** Interviewed each participant twice; second interview served as a clarification/additional comments session Each interview lasted ½ hour to 1 hour 30 minutes

15 Emergent Themes 1.Family and Educational Support 2.Hegemonic masculinity 3.Community and Locality 4.Mixed Race Identity (Half Black; Half White Otherness) 5.Switching the Interview Script: Reversal of Power Dynamics 6.Discrimination/Shaking and Shrugging it Off

16 Hegemonic Masculinities – Adams story using the Cufflink Exercise Can you just hold up the cufflink and tell me what it means to you? Right this one is gold and square. Ive taken this one out because its a mans cufflink, obviously gold. It sort of reminds me of a gangsta which like sort of reminds me of my father. He always thinks hes very uhm street. Really? Yes, very. And he was. Nobody would mess with my father. If I walked through the docks, if any body was giving me any trouble at all Id tell em who my father was and theyd just turn and walk away.

17 Josephs Identity/Mixed Race Story: And how did you find that experience? [regarding attending a faith based secondary school]) Uhm … (Huge pause) difficult…I really didnt like school. I really, really didnt like it. Uhm, it very much ties in with the theme, why were here today. I didnt like it because I felt very uncomfortable there. Very, very uncomfortable there. Now there were never any comments, you know there were very, very rarely comments, and I was never made to feel like I was the odd person out there. I was one of two people who were mixed race in school. In my year. By mixed race, what do you mean? A mix of races. Half black, half white. OK. Uhm ….. (pause) you know visibly, not a mix of culture. Yeah a mix of cultures, I guess as well, but of a noticeable, a noticeable distinction between people who were white and there was me. Do you think you were treated any differently than someone who was white or someone who was black not mixed race? No.

18 Shaking it Off/Denial of Discrimination Josephs story Ive never experienced racism. Never ever. Fingers crossed I never ever will…I dont think, that is the one time I have it was. One time you have what? Experienced racism – I was walking under the subway once? What subway – was this in Cardiff? Yeah- you know the fly over …On [Southern road][1]. Yeah. Uhm (pause) well yeah there was a … I think I was 14 and a group of young guys in a, in a (pause) mini bus shouted something. The n- word. They had very, very Welshy accents. That was the one and only time. I was on my own and (pause) I shook it off. I think I looked at the bus and I looked around and I said: idiots and then just walked off. But it must have you know the one thing I can think of, so. But how did it make you feel at the time? Shocked. Very shocked. Looking back (pause) I can understand that it was probably done by a teen, it was done by a teenage boy to impress his friends. Its no different for me, for me its no different for me to shouting fatty to somebody whos fat. Ginger to somebody whose ginger you know. And certainly, I certainly have no desire to go on a big crusade to stamp out racism about it.

19 My Journey from Masters to PhD Research on Black Men in Elite HEIs: Majority of existing research focused on the negative stories of failing or underperforming Black boys. Read Journal article by Shaun Harper, Prof. of HE at U. Penn, Ivy League) that discussed successful US Black men in HEIs frustration with educators presumed low expectations of them – the What about us who are doing well? Wanted to explore various forms of capital (Bourdieu) including class, race and ethnicity, gender to get an understanding of how they influence Black mens capital and ability to succeed in elite HEIs. Knew that based on my Masters research Wales was too small of a sample size/insufficient elite HEIs as well. Considered my own personal story of how I got through the US Educational system

20 Why Study Blacks at Elite HEIs? To… Explore (Bourdieuan references) of how these Black mens capital (and ability) from Secondary Ed to HE influenced their ability to succeed. Explore how these men have exercised their masculinity in secondary and Higher education – how has this been accepted/responded to by teachers/lectures/overall educational system?: How is how they perform their masculinity similar or different than that of underperforming black lads and what if anything can be learned from this?

21 Why Study Blacks at Elite HEIs? (continued) Focus on Black male success stories to explore Black mens experiences of successfully navigating through predominantly White Elite HEIs. Explore Black Males Identities with Respect to how they have perform (Goffman/Mac An Ghaill) manage Race, Class and Gender in Educational, Social and Employment Spaces (Capital, Bourdieu). Explore possible experiences or racism/discrimination Look at what is and is not working for Black Students in elite universities (i.e. administrative and or educational support frameworks)

22 Education-based meritocracy John Goldthorpe affirms the belief that a merit- based higher education system can offset the role of social class in determining economic outcomes. In a merit-based system Postsecondary schooling is a filter that keeps parents economic position from simply passing straight through to their children, thus simultaneously promoting economic efficiency, social justice, and social mobility. (Goldthorpe, 2002)

23 Goldthorpes three requirements for a less classed based society : 1.Link between an individuals social origins and their schooling only reflect their ability. 2.Link between schooling and eventual employment must be strengthened by qualifications (hard work) acquired through education. 3.Link between schooling and employment must become constant for individuals of differing social origins. (Goldthorpe in Haverman, R. and Smeeding,T. 2006, p.127)

24 Meritocracy can be viewed as A core belief system that can help a person to feel safe and justified in where s/he is and what they have achieved inspite of being from a particular class PLUS Neoliberal perspective of hard work and self determination (bootstaps/pulling the ladder/drawbridge) determines educational meritocracy EQUALS...

25 Misrecognitions Misrecognitions are how social practice may be made/constructed invisible though a displacement of understanding and a reconstual as part of other aspects of the habitus (Mahar et al, 1990, p.19)

26 Is HE becoming more merit-based and less class based in elite HEIs? Is a merit based level education playing field coming to fruition? Research on these issues at US elite universities indicates that even though elite HEIs may aspire to weaken the link between family socioeconomic class and life prospects, their efforts have been unsuccessful In most cases the allocation of educational services especially at elite universities is concentrated among youth from families with the highest economic status, and the concentration appears to be increasing. (Haverman, R. and Smeeding,T. 2006)

27 Do Black Students at elite unis identify with Meritocracy and Misrecognition? As a result of their life experiences and capital, do Black students at elite UK universities identify with a meritocratic/neo liberal perspective that what they have achieved they have done themselves as result of their hard work? Do these black students identify any other factors as being influential to their educational success?

28 Methodology for PhD Research Qualitative interviews with Third Year Black students at elite HEIs in England and Wales; follow up debriefing phone call/interview Recruiting from following elite Universities: Cambridge UniversityOxford University Imperial College LondonLondon School of Economics University College LondonWarwick University Bath University Bristol University Kings College LondonExeter University Birmingham UniversityCardiff University *

29 Methodology for PhD Research (continued) Participants will be paid for their participation in the research/ a donation will be made to a charity of their choice Second in person interview with all participants 6 months to one year after graduation Third objects/Visual aids to elicit stories Interviews will be: Digitally and Video Recorded Transcribed and Coded Manually NVivo Coded to develop themes

30 Current Progress with Preliminary Research Ethics Approval has been granted by Cardiff University Facebook recruitment page has been approved by supervisors and will go live on 21 February.

31 Some sub-questions this questions this research seeks to explore : Does privilege factor into participants perception of their educational success in HE? (Khan, 2011) What capital do the black students perceive themselves to have? Where when and how did they attain their capital? How does their capital translate into career opportunities after their graduation from Uni? (Khan, S )

32 Why Study Blacks at Elite HEIs? … middle class blacks have at their disposal a range of resources – a cultural toolkit (Moore, 2008: 498) – including language, mannerisms, clothing and credentials that allow them to create … public identities (which) are purposeful, instrumental strategies that either reduce the probability of discrimination or curtail the extent of discrimination middle-class blacks face in their public interactions in their interactions with white others generally and with education establishments in particular. (Lacy, 2007:73 In Rollock, N, Gillborn, D. Vincent, C. and Ball, S The Public Identities of the Black Middle Classes: Managing Race in Public Spaces. Sociology 45(6): )

33 Current Research Questions - Any Suggestions? What is the student experience like for Black men studying at predominantly White elite HEIs in the UK? How do race, ethnicity, gender, class and culture impact Black males constructions of their identity and their ability to achieve in leading HEIs? (exploration of Identity/Performativity Goffman/Mac An Ghaill/Epstein/Frances/Renold) How are issues of equality/inequality and mobilization academically operationalised in HEIs w/respect to Black students? How do institutional actions whether deliberate, explicit or due to policy framework influence universitys actions with respect to how black students are treated/supported in elite HEIs?

34 Current Research Questions (continued) How do institutional actions, deliberate, explicit or due to policy framework influence universitys actions with respect to how black students are treated/supported in elite HEIs How do universities do diversity and how do Black students feel about how it is performed? How have black males educational trajectories impacted their current experience in HE? How did black males perform masculinity in secondary school and how has this translated for them University? How do they think they are your perceived by lectures/professors and administration? Are there familial and socio-economic factors that influenced these students success in University and employment afterwards? What kinds strengths (capital) do Black students perceive themselves to have and how are they able to successfully exercise these in their secondary and HE years and afterwards when securing their first post university job? (Capital: Bourdieu; Becker Human capital)

35 Thank you for listening…any questions? Contact:

36 REFERENCES Becker, G. S., Human capital. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Bell, D And we will not be saved: the elusive quest for racial justice. New York: Basic Books. Bell, D Faces at the bottom of the well: The permanence of racism. New York: Basic Books. Bell, D Gospel choirs: Psalms of survival for an alien land called home. New York: Basic Books. Best, R. (1983) Weve all got scars: what boys and girls learn in elementary school (Bloomington, IN, Indiana University Press). Bourdieu, P. (1977) Cultural Reproduction and Social Reproduction, in J. Karabel and A.H. Halsey (eds) Power and Ideology in Education. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bourdieu, P Distinction: a social critique of the judgement of taste. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Bourdieu, P Sociology in Question. London: Sage. Butler, J. (1990) Gender trouble (New York, Routledge). Butler, J. (1993) Bodies that matter: on the discursive limits of sex (New York, Routledge). Butler, J. (2004) Undoing gender (London, Routledge). Coard, B How the West Indian Child is made Educationally Sub-Normal in the British School System. UK: New Beacon. Connell, R. W Cool Guys, Swots and Wimps: The Interplay of Masculinity and Education. Oxford Review of Education, 15(3), pp Connell, R. W Masculinities. Cambridge: Polity Press. Connell, R. W The Men and the Boys. London. Oxford: Polity Press. Crozier, G Theres a War Against Our children: black parents views on their childrens education. British Journal of Sociology of Education. 26(5), Delgado, R. 1995a. The Rodrigo chronicles: Conversations about America and race. New York: New York University Press. Delgado, R. ed. 1995b. Critical race theory: The cutting edge. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. Delgado, R The coming race war?: And other apocalyptic tales of America after affirmative action and welfare. New York: New York University Press. De Graaf, P. (1988) Parents Financial and Cultural Resources, Grades, and Transition to Secondary School in the Federal Republic of Germany, European Sociological Review 4(3): 409–21.

37 REFERENCES (continued) De Graaf, N.D., P.M. de Graaf and G. Kraaykamp (2000) Parental Cultural Capital and Educational Attainment in the Netherlands: A Refinement of the Cultural Capital Perspective, Sociology of Education 73: 92–111. Department for Children, Schools and Families black Childrens Achievement Programme Evaluation. [Online]. Nottingham: DCSF Publications. Available at: /eOrderingDownload/DCSF-RR177.pdf [Accessed: 10 January 2012] /eOrderingDownload/DCSF-RR177.pdf Department for Education and Skills (DfES) Department for Education and Skills: Ethnicity and Education: The Evidence on Minority Ethnic Pupils aged 5-16, London: DfES Publications. Epstein, D. & Johnson, R. (1998) Schooling sexualities (Buckingham, Open University Press). Fine, M. (2003) Sexuality, schooling and adolescent females: the missing discourse of desire, in: M. Fine & L. Weis (Eds) Silenced voices and extraordinary conversations (Amsterdam, Teachers College Press). Francis, B The role of the Boffin as abject Other in gendered performances of school achievement. The Sociological Review 57(4 ), pp. 645–669. Francis, B. et al The simultaneous production of educational achievement and popularity: how do some pupils accomplish it? British educational Research Journal 36, pp Francis, B. and Skelton, C Reassessing Gender and Achievement: Questioning Contemporary Key Debates. Oxon: Routledge. Gillborn, D Race and Ethnicity in Compulsory Schooling. In: Modood, T. and Acland, T. eds. Race and Higher Education: Experiences, Challenges and Policy Implications. London: Policy Studies Institute, p Gillborn, D. and Youdell, D Rationing Education: Policy, Practice, Reform and Equity. Buckingham: Open University Press. Gillborn, D Racism and education: coincidence or conspiracy? Oxon: Routledge. Gillborn, D Racism and Education: Coincidence or Conspiracy? Oxon: Routledge. Goldthorpe, J Education-Based Meritocracy: The Barriers to Its Realization, paper presented to the Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School of Syracuse University (April 2002), Goffman, E Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. Englewood: Prentice-Hall. Goffman, E The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. London: Pelican books. Graetz, B. (1988) The Reproduction of Privilege in Australian Education, British Journal of Sociology 39: 358–76. Harker, R Cultural Capital, education and power in New Zealand: an agenda for research, New Zealand Sociology, 7, 1,pp

38 REFERENCES (continued) Haverman, R and Smeeding,T The Role of Higher Education in Social Mobility. The Future of Children. Vol 16: 2, pp. 125 – 149. Available at: 49 [Accessed: 2 February 2012]. 49 James, D Mature Studentship in Higher education: beyond a 'species' approach. British Journal of Sociology of Education 16(4), pp Katsillis, J. and R. Rubinson (1990) Cultural Capital, Student Achievement and Educational Reproduction: The Case of Greece, American Sociological Review 55: 270–9. Khan, S Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Pauls School. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Kingdon, G. and Cassen, R Understanding low achievement in English schools. CASE paper, 118.Understanding low achievement in English schools. Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics and Political Science, London: UK Kirton, G Career Plans and aspirations of recent black and minority ethnic business graduates. Work, Employment and Society 23(1), pp Ladson-Billings, G Just what is critical race theory, and whats it doing in a nice field like education? In: Parker, L. et al. eds. Race is... Race isnt: Critical race theory and qualitative studies in education. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 7 – 30. Lamb, S. (1989) Cultural Consumption and the Educational Plans of Australian Secondary School Students, Sociology of Education 62: 95–108. Mac an Ghaill, M. (1988). Young, Gifted and Black. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. Mac an Ghaill, M. (1994) The making of men: masculinities, sexualities and schooling (Buckingham, Open University Press). Mac an Ghaill, M. & Redman, P. (1997) Educating Peter: the making of a history man, in: D. Steinberg, D. Epstein & R. Johnson (Eds) Border patrols: policing the boundaries of heterosexuality (London, Cassell). Mahar, C., Harker, R., Wilkes, C The basic theoretical position, in: R, Harker, C. Mahar and C. Wilkes (Eds) An Introduction to the Work of Pierre Bourdieuthe practice of theory. Basingtoke: Macmillan.

39 REFERENCES (continued) Mincer, J., Schooling, Experience and Earnings. New York: Columbia University Press. Moore K (2008) Class formations: Competing forms of black middle-class identity. Ethnicities 8(4): 492–517. Nayak, A. & Kehily, M. J. (2006) Gender undone: subversion, regulation and embodiment in the work of Judith Butler, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 27(4), 459–472. Office for National Statistics National Curriculum Assessment, GCSE and Attainment and Post-16 Attainment by Pupil Characteristics in England 2005, First Release, 1 March. Power, S., Whitty, G., Edwards, T. & Wigfall, V. (1998) Schoolboys and schoolwork: gender identification and academic achievement, International Journal of Inclusive Education, 2(2), 135–153. Reay, D. (2006) Gender and class in education, in: C. Skelton, B. Francis & L. Smulyan (Eds) The Sage handbook of gender and education (London and New York, Sage). Renold, E. (2005) Girls, boys, and junior sexualities (London, RoutledgeFalmer). Renold, E. (2006) They wont let us play … unless youre going out with one of them: girls, boys, and Butlers heterosexual matrix in the primary years, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 27(4), 491–511. Rollock, N, Gillborn, D. Vincent, C. and Ball, S The Public Identities of the Black Middle Classes: Managing Race in Public Spaces. Sociology 45(6): Sewell, T Black Masculinities and Schooling: How Black boys survivemodern schooling, Staffordshire, Trentham books. Schultz, T., Investment in man: An economist's view. The Social Service Review 33(2): Strauss, A., & Corbin, J Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Skelton, C. (2001) Schooling the boys (Buckingham, Open University Press). Sullivan, A. (2001) Cultural Capital and Educational Attainment, Sociology 35(4): 893–912 Youdell, D. (2006) Impossible bodies, impossible selves (London, Routledge). Wakeling, P. (2009), Are Ethnic Minorities Underrepresented in UK Postgraduate Study?. Higher Education Quarterly, 63: 86–111.) Wright, C., Standen, P., John, G., German, G. and Patel, T School exclusion and transition into adulthood in African- Caribbean communities. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.[Online]. Available at: [Accessed 19 January 2012].http://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/files/jrf/0435.pdf


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