The Colour of Class
The educational strategies of the black middle classes
Routledge – 2015
‘At every single stage of my child’s education, I make sure that they are not under the radar’ (mother)
• How do race and class intersect to shape the identities and experiences of Black middle-class parents and their children?
• What are Black middle class parents’ strategies for supporting their children through school?
• What role do the educational histories of Black middle class parents play in their decision-making about their children’s education?
There is now an extensive body of research on the educational strategies of the white middle classes but a silence exists around the emergence of the Black middle classes, and their experiences, priorities, and actions in relation to education. This book focuses on middle class families of Black Caribbean heritage.
Drawing on rich qualitative data from nearly 80 in-depth interviews with Black Caribbean middle-class parents, the internationally renowned authors reveal how these parents attempt to navigate their children successfully through the English school system, and defend them against low expectations and other manifestations of racism/discrimination. They also identify when, how and to what extent parents deploy the financial, cultural and social resources available to them as professional, middle class individuals in support of their children’s academic success and emotional well-being. In doing so, the book sheds light on the complex, and relatively neglected relations, between race, social class and education. In addition, the book poses wider questions about the experiences of social mobility in the UK and the intersection of race and class in forming the identity of the parents and their children, who are, in most cases, the third generation of Black British citizens.
This book will appeal to undergraduates and postgraduates on education, sociology and social policy courses as well as academics with an interest in Critical Race Theory.
1. Introducing the Study, the People and the Key Themes 2. First, Second and Third Generations: the Educational Histories of the Black Middle Classes 3. Twenty First Century Schooling and the Education of Black Children 4. Parents’ Educational Strategies 5. Being Black and Middle Class: A Contradiction in Terms? 6. Resilience, Agency and Capitals: Surviving the System
Nicola Rollock is a researcher at the Institute of Education, University of London. Her research interests include race equality and wider issues around social justice, education and the criminal justice system.
David Gillborn is Professor of Critical Race Studies in Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. Recently described as ‘one of Britain’s leading race theorists’, David has twice been recipient of the UK’s most prestigious education research award, the Society for Educational Studies (SES) prize for outstanding education book of the year; for his books ‘Racism and Education: coincidence or conspiracy?’ and ‘Rationing Education’ (co-authored with Deborah Youdell).
Stephen J Ball is Karl Mannheim Professor of the Sociology of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. His work is in ‘policy sociology’ and he has conducted a series of ESRC funded studies which focus on issues of social class and policy.
Carol Vincent is a Professor at the Institute of Education, University of London. She has written and published extensively on the themes of social class and parents’ interactions with the education system, parenting, especially mothering, the operation of markets in education, and education policy.