Exploring the Lived Experience of Black Young People in a Predominantly White Secondary School

Prof Doc Thesis


Ajewole, S. 2023. Exploring the Lived Experience of Black Young People in a Predominantly White Secondary School. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8ww44
AuthorsAjewole, S.
TypeProf Doc Thesis
Abstract

β€œKasserian Ingera?” (β€œπ˜ˆπ˜―π˜₯ 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘒𝘳𝘦 𝘡𝘩𝘦 𝘀𝘩π˜ͺ𝘭π˜₯𝘳𝘦𝘯?”) is a traditional greeting amongst the Maasai Warriors (African tribe), often followed by the customary response, β€œπ˜ˆπ˜­π˜­ 𝘡𝘩𝘦 𝘀𝘩π˜ͺ𝘭π˜₯𝘳𝘦𝘯 𝘒𝘳𝘦 π˜Έπ˜¦π˜­π˜­β€. These common conversations signify the deep-rooted protection and nurture of the young and powerless and thus a hope for a promising future for society. In UK society however, the need for the Children’s Act 2004, in part due to societal failures to protect children, highlights misalignment between the UK and Maasai tribe ethos. The fact that Black young people (BYP) in UK schools are disproportionality affected by racism exemplifies our inadequate child protection efforts.

The aim of this current research therefore was to explore the lived experiences of BYP in a predominantly White secondary school (PWSS). With a social constructivist and transformative epistemology, this study used qualitative methodology and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to extract meaning from participant semi-structured interviews.

Findings suggest that the nine BYP who participated in the study experienced challenges with their identity due to negative societal discourses around Blackness impacting their sense of belonging. Racial injustice (e.g. differential treatment and racial abuse) was commonplace. Subsequent behaviour governing to avoid White judgement ensued. Participants outlined how their PWSSs could embody cultural sensitivity and cited a majority of external factors as facilitators of a positive educational experience leaving BYP vulnerable should they dissipate. Critical Race Theory (CRT), The Social Graces framework and the Ecological model facilitated theoretical understanding of the findings. Implications for schools and Educational Psychologists (EP) were devised from researcher and participant insight prompting greater understanding of ethnic difference and culturally sensitive targeted responses. Emancipatory in nature, this study elicited the voices of BYP and reframed oppressive experiences. Ultimately however, findings cast doubt over whether like Maasai tribe, β€œπ˜ˆπ˜­π˜­ 𝘡𝘩𝘦 𝘀𝘩π˜ͺ𝘭π˜₯𝘳𝘦𝘯 𝘒𝘳𝘦 π˜ͺ𝘯π˜₯𝘦𝘦π˜₯ π˜Έπ˜¦π˜­π˜­β€.

Keywordspredominantly White school; young people; lived experiences; Black; IPA
Year2023
PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8ww44
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Publication dates
Online31 Oct 2023
Publication process dates
Completed22 Jun 2023
Deposited31 Oct 2023
Copyright holderΒ© 2023, The Author
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