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Flippin' the Script: Student Perceptions of Race, Racism, and Racial Inclusion in Higher Education

JONES, CHRISTOPHER,CHARLES (2022) Flippin' the Script: Student Perceptions of Race, Racism, and Racial Inclusion in Higher Education. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



In UK higher education, racial inequality is a predominant issue amongst students and staff. Analysing scholars’ work, the education system simultaneously creates and downplays the lack of opportunities given to resilient minority (ReM) groups, shown within six key processes: (i) pre-university educational attainment, (ii) university application choices, (iii) university admissions process, (iv) the racialised student experience, (v) degree completion and achievement, and (vi) graduate career prospects. Throughout these six stages, research suggests racism manifests in both overt and subtle ways historically and currently leading administrators to believe a colour-blind and meritocratic system is beneficial for students – in turn creating less opportunities and deficit thinking towards students of the ReM. Thus, in this thesis, I draw together the literature on race, racism, and racial inclusiveness within the educational system. Using critical race analysis and adopting a qualitative approach (e.g., Thematic analysis), this research was designed to explore racial inclusiveness through perceptions of students who are Black and White at a Russell Group institution, specifically Durham University, aiming to illustrate racial disparities and suggest methods to achieve a more inclusive university environment.

In my findings, race directly influenced students’ capabilities of fitting in and/or being excluded, racism was considered inescapable due to its widespread presence, and racial inclusion had multi-faceted barriers to overcome because of the widespread reality of racism. My inspiring tool emerging from this thesis is the Flippin’ the Script (FTS) framework, which prioritises reimagining normative racial discourse by analysing and challenging the mechanisms of racism being underpinned by White Insecurity. This is practiced through removing revictimization and empowering the racialised victims through alternative language and shifting the focus towards the perpetrators of racism. Thus, when applying the FTS framework, a level of rehumanisation occurs for both the victims and perpetrators of racism, and as a result racially reconciles the socially misconstructed Black-White binary percolating in the Wild Racist West and in this study’s case- Durham. Therefore, with increasing numbers of students of the ReM attending university, this thesis seeks to dismantle the racial inequity that persists in education by understanding the barriers students encounter and how students who are White view the influx of ReM groups gravitating towards “their” “elite” institutions.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:race, racism, racial inclusion, Black, Whiteness, flippin' the script, education
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Sociology, Department of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:27 Jul 2022 09:45

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