Notes on: Dumagane, C. (2016) Exploring the narratives of the few: British African Caribbean Male graduates of elite universities in England and Wales. Doctoral thesis. School of social sciences. Cardiff University. January 2016. [unpublished as far as I know]

Dave Harris

[I have notes on a few central chapters only. ]

This claims to be based on CRT especially counter narratives and it combines Bourdieu with CRT.

Chapter 3. From race to micro-aggressions

Hall is used to explain that race is also connected to class and socio-historical contexts, that biological research can discredit the notion that there is any distinct human race, but that 'racist signification' (31) sees Whiteness as natural,  neutral and so the individual is universally taken to be White and male. These have become to some extent entrenched. An ethnic group is identified by a shared cultural heritage, language or dialect and the link with race is still problematic.

Back to Hall and the historical link with colonialism and the White man's burden in Britain. Ethnicity becomes a 'strategically necessary concept' (32), most obviously as a rationalisation for slavery. Nevertheless there has been a lot of debate about how Black or Black culture have actually been defined and what the term includes. Particular debate in the literature concerning the intersections between race and class. [Thisis quite a light skim over the issue compared with actual Hall]. There have been debates about how to teach history and culture in secondary school curricula. Some people think that the definitions are always being renegotiated. They may offer double consciousness to some participants, and a notion of tension or struggle

Contemporary forms take their shape from elites and appear in elite speaking or writing [citing van Dijk). Everyday racism may be less often discussed however, and much research done so far is conducted in the USA — Simpson is cited to define it as something that occurs in everyday settings not just 'overt, attitudinal or behavioural racism' (35) it is more complex, a matter of connections between individual prejudice and larger structural societal problems, operating at small scale local levels and larger matters of power abuse by dominant groups on a larger scale. Systemic racism and everyday racism are less well discussed, but they form the 'visible and invisible systems of everyday racism, rooted in racist prejudices and ideologies' (citing van Dijk again). Many racist interactions may not be conspicuous because racism and discrimination is changing and now often involves 'subtle racial micro-aggressions'.

This is a term coined by Peirce to refer to '"subtle cumulative mini assault (s)"' Solorozano 2000 describes them as '"subtle insults… directed toward people of colour, often automatically or unconsciously"' (36). They can be behavioural and environmental, intentional or unintentional. They might be found in work circumstances. BME groups often become keenly aware of them and develop coping strategies. They are often subtle and this makes them difficult to address or challenge.

Sue says that perpetrators are often oblivious to their insulting nature. He has categorised various types. Many are apparent in British society. They are socially shared and are linked to divisions between us and them [Sue's table follows].

Modern racism is involved to become more subtle symbolic and aversive. It can be masked. Microaggressions are more nebulous more difficult to recognise and accept, more difficult to identify and prove, easily explained away as inoffensive that have been misunderstood by oversensitive individuals. POC may find it more difficult to handle than explicit forms. Racism complaints can be 'complicated and counter-productive in university settings' (39), especially if there are no particular official strategies. Victims may adopt coping strategies which can include suffering in silence or distancing themselves, for example explaining them away as ignorance rather than calculated racism, requiring no confrontation. His participants have lots of examples.

Aversive racism may cause even more 'racial anger, frustration and [low] self-esteem' (40). It may be institutionalised within the habitus of UK elite institutions including universities. One POC says for example that he and another lecturer of colour were more severely cross-examined at entry interview and that he encountered racist views in lectures. A dean at Cambridge said there was a real reluctance to discuss race because the University '"appears to consider itself post racist"' (41). Systemic racism has been researched through 'admission decisions, recruitment and retention processes relative to ethnic minority students', but less frequently exploring British African Caribbean Men (BACM) men's experiences.

On to gender, as performance via Butler, and gender in intersection with race and class, a necessary focus for his research. He goes on to define culture as a matter of language and customs and so on, citing Bourdieu, who also says that the best of these things are recognised as such by the dominant classes. Hall's definition is thrown in for some reason. Hammersley and Woods are cited on the intersections of class race and gender. There is some work on subcultures as countercultures which are also related to social class and produce forms of identity for adolescents which can link to race and masculinity so that 'Black boys at school ascribed to a Black male subculture interweaving gender and race' (43) which can explain some of their disengagement. They are also seen as leaders of style and street culture, [some more stuff on this later on on the 'slick walk' or the 'trendsetting style of dress' from Gillborn and Sewell respectively] although teachers see them as '"devils" in classrooms' [citing Sewell], excessively masculine. One coping strategy involves not doing well at school because it is not seen as being cool or hard. African Caribbean boys have developed their own subcultures as a response shown in music, hair and dress, and their music often stresses violence as in American rap

There is some work on teacher expectations [including Gillborn and Mac an Ghaill] and this might be a factor in unusual levels of exclusion, funnelling into SEN schools, negative interpretations, early condemnations to failure, entry to lower tiers of GCSE exams and so on.

Some CRT researchers argue that Black men's voices need to be centred in research so that their perspectives can be understood outside of this framework. We should do this through intersectionality, however. [Not at all sure how].

Post racialism is particularly flawed, especially when it focuses on meritocracy as the main route to success and minimises class and racial concern. Intersectional approaches stress relationships, like those between CRT, Black feminist theory and intersectionality and the way they have all been used to explain class inequalities. At the same time, race because of its debatable position as a social construct [and he still puts it in inverted commas in this chapter] has been relatively ignored and it is now necessary to restore it as a central tenet. [Rather a soft version of CRT here].

Chapter 4. Bourdieu, Rational Action and meritocracy.

The key terminology here are 'habitus, field, capital and cultural reproduction' from Bourdieu, and Rational Action Theory and Meritocracy from Goldthorpe and Glaesser and Cooper 2012. Intersectionality of class and race as discussed in this background. Class and gender has been discussed in connection with Bourdieu as in Skeggs or Reay, but there are some early pieces on race as well.

The early works in Algeria analyse colonialism and struggles afterwards and Bourdieu was a soldier at one stage. He saw precolonial Algeria as having been destabilised by colonialism and agree to some extent with Fanon on the negative psychological effects. His first major work was the Sociology of Algeria followed by The Algerians, where colonialism was seen as racial oppression, and a '"caste system racial segregation"' , taking a '"Manichean"' form (51). Racism was a rationalisation backed by force. He stressed the notion of caste to bring out weberian notions of 'race supported by political privilege'rather than just class. He thought that '"caste spirit stifles class consciousness"' as did Fanon. The colonial system itself was crucial and had to be dismantled, by revolution. [I didn't know any of this!]

Race was like class, based on 'an unequal distribution of various capitals possessed by the dominant [White] group' (52) which links with the notion of Whiteness and White capital in people like Gillborn or Solorzano. As with class habitus, it is misrecognised by those who advocate merit. It becomes its own 'form of symbolic violence', seen in micro-aggressions. Bourdieu calls it '"gentle, invisible violence, unrecognised as such, chosen as much is undergone' [so partaking of all the cunning of history as does class discrimination?].

Social class clearly centrally effects  BACM performance, but this is often been background in favour of neoliberal meritocratic policies. Skeggs notes that that is because class differences have become institutionalised and thus legitimated, silenced. It is the same for BME people.

Bourdieu has the notion of field or site, distinct regions which require membership based on substantial knowledge, formal and informal, including knowledge of academies, journals, gossip and rumour. Dominant groups determine what is valued and their system of domination is apparent in all the values and positions [Rollock 2007 is cited here for some reason]. Otherwise they are arbitrary. Not all members are aware of the basis of the evaluation because they have become routinised, although there can be 'contention and conflict' (55) as subordinated groups struggle to gain power.

The struggles are fuelled by different types of capital. There is a dynamic relation to habitus. Some forms of habitus give greater access to fields and provide greater resources than others. Curriculum choices indicate institutional habitus, for example, with private sector schools offering the more traditional academic subjects.

The issue for his research is whether those BACM at elite universities have come from middle-class backgrounds or whether some working class ones have acquired capital in other ways. What they identify as the power differentials and in particular whether they can challenge power dynamics inside 'the existent White middle-class habitus of the universities' or just accept them. Whether there is a reproduction of the possession of cultural capital between the generations for BACM.

There is some work on the way in which that BME from working-class and middle-class background select HEI, using social capital [Ball, Reay and David 2002], social connections: this seems to be '"contingent choosers" and "embedded choosers"', first generation working class or middle class with a history of university attendance. Social capital generally is associated with positive outcomes both academically and social, although it is usually seen as 'firmly rooted within networks' (57) [some repetition of the work here, often focusing on race]. Misrecognition 'is central to the power dynamics and efficiency of education' (58) where, in Bourdieu, capital becomes symbolic capital and is misrecognised as arbitrary truth, legitimate practical knowledge. His participants were asked about the sort of social capital that had influence their own achievement.

Cultural reproduction follows, for Bourdieu, although the whole thing apparently runs on the basis of individual ability or merit, because '"the culture of the elite is so near to that of the school"' (59), and esteemed forms of capital are easier to acquire at home and during childhood. This is disguised to some extent 'due to an imperfect relationship between the distribution of economic and cultural capital'

BME underachievement may be the result of social class and it does have an independent effect, as does gender, and there have been attempts to measure the relative importance of the three [Gillborn and Mirza 2000] [some data is quoted]. There is still an explanatory gap, however especially for BME boys because of neighbourhood pressures and low expectations [although a note says that 'Black African Pakistani and Bangladeshi pupils tend to perform better than Black Caribbean and White students from disadvantaged backgrounds' 60]. There may also be a proximity to good schools, or 'individual biographies'as factors. Class might reinforce race. [We know a lot more about this since the Sewell Report]

Turning to Goldthorpe, he argued that the HE system can offset the role of social class to some extent [not a very good summary though, nothing on relative and absolute social mobility, Goldthorpe appears here as a simple meritocrat]. Rational Action Theory suggests that people make decisions on a cost benefit basis rather than being affected by the habitus, and Glaesser and Cooper have tried to bring these together.

Bottero takes Goldthorpe's use of RAT to explain that 'the same attitudes and beliefs have largely different results for those in differing class locations'(62) and that the different distribution of opportunities and risks in different class locations are what affects their behaviour rather than 'class cultures or beliefs'. Boudon also used RAT to show how different destination goals and calculations of costs of benefits among children in different social class origins lead to different educational pathways. This might be compatible with Bourdieu and the argument that their habituses are incompatible [Glaesser and Cooper offer the example of leaving school to go into an unskilled job is a reasonable ambition for a working class person, but would be seen as downward social mobility for a middle-class one] .

Reay has particularly argued that Bourdieu's concepts can be adapted to analyse gender and ethnicity. Cultural reproduction [is not criticised with Sewell type data on social mobility of some ethnic groups]. Bourdieu's strong correlation between academic success and familial cultural capital in France in the 70s is cited uncritically.

He wants to explore his participants' experiences using economic cultural and social capital and how they confer different advantages and disadvantages on his respondents, and how they turn into symbolic capital. Cultural capital in particular exists in embodied forms — '"long lasting dispositions of the mind and body… Accent, disposition, way of walking; objectified state in the form of cultural goods, such as pictures, books, music; and the institutionalised state which reflect qualifications and institutionally sanctioned forms of status"' [obviously from Distinction] (64), and this can be transformed into economic capital or educational qualifications. Social capital is social obligations and connections which can be transferred into economic capital, forming social networks, being able to perform, 'a quality that permits or facilitates achievement or accomplishment'. Symbolic capital can be expressed in '"accumulated prestige, celebrity, consecration, or honour and is founded on a dialectic of knowledge… And recognition"' (65): it needs to be recognised as capital, by agents. Again it can lead to economic acquisition, or at least legitimise it, and the acquisition of educational success as well.

In a field, for Bourdieu, a game is being played, with rules although these are not codified, and trump cards which are generally of value. Players may hold different sorts of capital and will play according to strategies to maximise the value of their capital, trying to develop the best of the objective chances [a rough summary of Bourdieu and Wacquant he quotes on 65] [explicated rather pointedly on the next page]. Willis, Skeggs and Reay show how White working class boys and girls work in ways which are 'oppositional to the habitus of secondary institutions' and it is the same for BACM (67). Race has been theoretically marginalised in the past, just as social class was in favour of stress on social mobility and meritocracy. [Then some repetition about habitus and its effects, the institutional habitus found in universities and other institutions].

Atkinson (2011) objects to the identification of habitus as being institutionalised, and argues it can only be located in people: to do otherwise "'completely steamrolls any internal heterogeneity or dissension"', and denies the ability of students to adapt or become mavericks. These may be the exception rather than the norm however.

[More repetition on habitus for some reason enabling him to talk about 'the likelihood of alienation and conflict for students' and to bring in hooks (68) and BACM culture specifically. Then a revisit to cultural reproduction, more repetition really. A revisit to the RAT issue linked to the role of private schools {does he identify this as a particular variable and successful transition?}]

Chapter 5. CRT, Institutional Racism, Misrecognition and the Intersection of Capitals

CRT is introduced. Gillborn argues that race should be a central focus [unlike intersectionality then] and others have said that although class is a major factor, race is also crucial in interacting with it. The principles of CRT then outlined — racism is typical and ordinary, and 'permeates and negotiates every aspect of White people's everyday attitudes' (75), often subconscious; race is a social construction, but not solely, because it is reproduced and has a political and social context in colonialism and slavery; neoliberal ideas of multiculturalism silences race and has had the effect of championing political correctness and identifying problems as ones of tolerance rather than inequality[nice point] ; there are broad assumptions and beliefs that are 'deeply embedded' [citing Foucault] which include Eurocentrism and White privilege, '"an invisible package of unearned assets"' (76), often invisible and seen as normal' Whiteness becomes a matter of property.

Institutional racism follows from embodying the assumptions of White people [and Gillborn 2009 is cited as a major source here], together with Harris. Gillborn knows that this is seen as divisive by class theorists like Cole and acknowledges that not all White people are equally privileged, although they are all '"implicated in these relations" but… "Do not all draw similar benefits — but they do all benefit whether they like it or not"' (79). This routine privilege is the most dangerous form of White supremacy because it is normal and embedded systems. Individuals are socialised and educated into it and a meritocratic view accompanies it, a form of misrecognition in Bourdieu which makes it invisible.

Skeggs argues that White women, however, were 'consciously aware of how they were socially positioned' (80). However a White hegemonic discourse implies over determination for nonWhites, while preserving Whiteness as normative. Race is relevant only for some, while Whiteness is invisible — at least to those who inhabit it. [Still hasn't really addressed Skeggs's point, nor explained why there is a substantial rise in Black consciousness].

Education is particularly challenged as being objective, neutral and meritocratic, and for adopting colourblind policies. 'The problem is that some Whites cannot practice true colour blindness… Because they take for granted the unconscious privilege and power that Whiteness provides them' (81), and can still hold negative stereotypes even while opposing blatant racism as in the low expectations of teachers.

Intersectionality is now important as well because it is now realised that 'bodies of colour do not have a '"single, easily stated unitary identity" (Delgado and Stefanci 2012)', and so might be subject to multiple oppressions. Hall has said that [nevertheless] race has been often omitted from the dynamics of British society, and BME knowledge excluded, we find this within the 'canonical academe of social sciences' as well, with its 'traditional "epistemologies… [The]… Result of social practices where powers being exercised" (Hylton 2010)'. Apparently, though, Harvey allows for critical social research to expose oppressive mechanisms, like CRT.

There is also 'social and cultural capital within in [sic] BME communities in the US' that might act as sufficient sources of resistance or critique, according to Yosso (2005). Black experience if centred will recognise skills, capabilities and cultural knowledge in the form of '"community cultural wealth"' which includes: 'aspirational capital… Linguistic capital… Familial capital… And the inclusion of community… Social capital… Navigational capital… Resistant capital' (83 – 4) [looks useful, all in Yosso 2005] this provides a theory of potential empowerment. Vincent and others have also shown how the Black middle-class can employ strategies to combat racial and social injustice [presumably the school choice material]. However there may be 'negative and derogatory psychological emotional consequences' (85) which he intends to discuss later.

Acknowledging racism is difficult because it means conceding that people have been victims and acknowledging stigmatisation and this is shown in several of his accounts.

Bodily hexis might be important and be mis-read as 'a "behavioural attitude"' by teachers for example (85) [references to Gillborn among others] and this again has cropped up in the participants accounts.

There might be gender differences and class differences. For example Black university men might be able to produce a strategy that overlooks every day racism — '"moderate Blackness"' (86).

Chapter 6 Methodology, methods and design

He wanted to find out what experience was like especially how race ethnicity gender, class and culture accounted for their constructions of their identity and their ability to succeed. He begins with his own biography, a Black a male influenced by feminist approaches. He is American and older than the participants. Keen on qualitative notions on lived experiences and constructions, participants counter stories, and focus on the relationship between researcher and researched, Bourdieu [but not the stuff on understanding?]. He acknowledges his personal experience on his ontological position and discusses epistemology [all very personal]. Claims to be Bourdieusian [but no quantitative?]. A bit on reflexivity. Positionality and the need to be self-critical.

His personal story to indicate his ontology. He is African-American but of immigrant descent rather than slavery. Both parents are in education. He attended predominantly White schools but experienced racism at secondary school, and some segregation in terms of friendship. His parents supported him in occasional challenges to teachers. He experienced otherness at the doctoral level as well and experienced self-doubt as a result of affirmative action, even though most BME students 'were not accepted into the law school based on affirmative action policies, but based on merits and a multiplicity of other factors (including class)' (94). Then he was a consultant in the Department of Health in the USA addressing inequalities in BME listening to stories. Then he relocated to Cardiff and was surprised by the 'lack of educated, successful, BME population' (95) so he set out to gain access to the community, particularly to resist the usual story of Black boys' underachievement and educational failure in the popular media.

He became interested in racism through Stuart Hall and the idea that race is the modality for class, although he thinks that race 'overrides class inequalities in some situations' (95). However he wants to remain open to multiple dimensions. CRT influenced his work, especially the value placed on experiential stories. He saw it necessary to provide a setting for BME voices especially BACM, and how they have interpreted events and made sense of their experiences, in HE and in early employment. He knows that these will be '"subjective" stories' (99).

He decided to avoid questionnaires and to have conversations instead, to listen to talk about experiences. Oral history rather than statistical data. Qualitative research in face-to-face and follow-up Skype interviews with 16 participants. There was a topic guide, 'third objects' and a video to help share stories. There were follow-up interviews and then a third interview after graduation, both of which were designed to clarify any misunderstandings. In some cases there was a fourth interview. Interviews ranged between 15 minutes and one hour 45 minutes. The aim was to develop thick descriptions including 'observing body language' and reviewing transcripts. He developed both traditional and contemporary grounded theory 'juxtaposed with CRT' (101). Line by line coding helped in 'opening up the data' and immersing himself in it. Contemporary grounded theory offers more of a challenge to the concept of researcher as author and stresses instead researcher as co-constructor, not looking for truth or reality, but rather demonstrating multiple realities. There are limitations [and he considers them].

Semistructured interviews were the main collection techniques followed by a narrative approach. Participants had to be home students, living for the majority of the time in the UK. Universities were chosen to be Russell group or Oxbridge, within reasonable distance. Bourdieu also distinguishes between elite higher education and other mass university systems which serve to perpetuate the privileges and advantages of the elite, and he finds similarities in the dichotomy between new universities and the Russell group and Oxbridge sector.

He used purposive and snowball sampling, after gaining access from gatekeepers at the universities — he stressed the positive aspects, finding examples of success and the beneficial strategies of BACM identify, as well as the usual stuff about confidentiality. He recruited through Facebook and the African Caribbean societies in each campus. 14 prospective participants never responded. He used his own contacts but still had difficulty accessing participants. His sample overrepresented females. He took care to gain informed consent. In the end for participants were recruited from Oxbridge and 13 from Russell group. Most identified as BACM, 2 claimed to be mixed origin. Some were very much a minority in their institutions. The follow-up interviews were with graduates within the past five years.

He also classified them according to how they defined their own class and the area of study they pursued in a table on 110 [8 working class, only 4 British Caribbean, lots of British African]

It is important to study people who are seldom heard so he tried to get them to discuss their views by interviewing them in friendly locations and establishing good rapport and trust, by sharing some of his own background, for example, and stressing the importance of their views, or developing open ended questions asking to share information and so on. He also developed 'neutral body language'(113). He recorded the interviews, initially on video, but there was no time to fully analyse those. He took particular care not to try and influence the answers.

Interview questions focused on the '"capitals" that aided them in their ascendance to and completion of University' (115), how they felt about belonging, and their experiences on completion of University. There were sub- questions or prompts which were occasionally revised and refined. He did pilot study with two BACM [examples of the schedule appearing the table on 117]. All interviews were transcribed verbatim, nine of them by external transcribers.

Third objects were used, 'usually tools that are used in some form of therapeutic work with children' (118) which can provoke better communication and relieve stress and anxiety. They are usually 'tools such as games, drawings, pictures, stories or short films'. He used 'pictures of university students in various settings related the social life' [for example including diverse participants] and asked about whether any resonated with their experiences. He also used a 'cufflink exercise' — participants had to choose three different cufflinks that reminded them of their mother, father or someone special who had had an impact on their life: they then had to explain why the cufflink was significant. Apparently it broke the ice. He also used a satirical video to prompt talk about experience with racism and discrimination [it was called '"shit White girls say to Black girls"']. Participants were paid for the interview.

He justifies the qualitative approach in the usual way, and discusses some problems [usual ones, but mostly the strengths of counterstories]. There is a possibility of emotional distress requiring counselling contacts, or concerns about privacy. Some participants may 'go off on a tangent' (123) and this apparently did happen although he is prepared to accept that it was all relevant and meaningful for them. He was aware that he was both insider and outsider and that researcher from a different background 'may have drawn different conclusions from the data'. He did experience of challenging understanding their perspectives on occasion.

He goes on to discuss grounded theory, and then there's some more stuff on how he transcribed and coded the data. The latter involve deciding what to do with 'multiple themes'. He used NVivo. He selected dominant themes and compared them with current literature. It was difficult to standardise themes, however He was after exploration 'rather than theory verification' (127). He wanted to triangulate grounded theory with feminist theory and CRT. There are objections to the claims of grounded theory, including those that appear to deny the researchers part in making meaning.

Apparently he also assigned participants to socio-economic classes based on what they said about housing, schooling and parental background. There were problems with migrants, for example in recognising university qualifications gained in Africa. So he settled for self-analysis.

Key themes emerging were 'sharing experiences, participants' accounts of teachers' perceptions of their performativity at school, parental hopes and aspirations… Capitals and resources known and unknown… Social and academic experiences of being Black and  Black culture… On elite university campuses, Black students worldviews: their effect on how racism and discrimination are/are not recognised at elite HEI's' (130).

He was keen to pursue reflexivity and consider ethical issues including informed consent, although this can sometimes be seen as 'bureaucratic' and reflect 'power dynamics' (133) [citing Hammersley]. There were emotions raised during the interviews, and this sometimes had the effect where 'participants appear to have merged and/or minimised recollections of victimisation' (134). Sometimes participants were in tears. He offered them counselling sometimes.

Chapter 7 Black Men's Trajectories into higher education

There were several main 'deal breakers'.

Six of the 15 described themselves as '"bad boys"' who had misbehaved (137) this might have given them some capital in some cultural working class environments in the neighbourhoods and schools in which they lived. They had to fit in even though they were academically good — one respondent said it was necessary to fight to gain respect, to perform tough. The trick was not to be excluded and to stay in the top sets — this respondent was needed by the school wanting to improve its rating status. When he finally went to a private school he changed his behaviour. Another respondent also performed 'cultural masculinity and dominance' in an underperforming school (139) but avoided the harshest sanctions because he was bright — sanctions were graded according to academic performance — teachers 'cut him a bit of slack' (140). Both reported a tendency to label Black boys as underperforming, however and as being stereotypically perceived as hard or masculine aggressive. This led to double pressure on the less achieving Black boys, although some teachers 'turned a blind eye' to some of the bright students' bad behaviour. White students also had a double standard and those with behavioural problems were sanctioned but not as severely as the Black mixed-race ones. A '"forceful way of talking… [And]… Other performative representations of their culture' (142) also led to misunderstandings. There were similarities to Willis's latds

We are describing here forms of cultural capital which do provide benefits like respect from other students and prevent these kids from being beaten up, although, it is also 'recognised as a liability by teachers', often misrecognised, and punished with relegation to lower sets. Nevertheless, some teachers saw the potential in some Black kids and gave them preferential treatment. In one case, this might have been because 'he embodied more middle-class habitus than his friends' (143). Different behaviour in different schools indicates '"double consciousness"' as in Dubois and Fanon. Private schools did not associate being smart with stigma.

Other respondents talked about being lucky or fortunate in being able to get on academically, attending a particularly good school even though it was located in a rough area, for example, or if it valued particular unusual skills, not only sports but singing in choirs [a faith-based school with a success ethic].

Some had parents who were capable of playing the game to find suitable schools, for example using '"school catchment surfing"' (147 )[with some of the dilemmas mentioned in the ESRC studies]. Mothers' aspirations seem quite important, and there is a hint of social and cultural capital enabling them to gain access to good schools. Other mothers mentioned university from an early age, and mentioned it frequently in childhood, even steering them onto suitable pathways, away from working class occupations, sometimes even stressing specific subjects 'particularly law, science, technology, engineering and mathematics' (150).

There is an emphasis on possession of suitable cultural capital and social capital — 'academic, work experience, financial, and knowing the system' going through formal and informal means. Proper knowledge about elite universities was important, sometimes from families or from special school programs, or from awareness of financial incentives [one to go to LSE]. These had positive impacts on competence and motivation. Sometimes churches provided information as well as 'the grapevine'. Living in London helped. One gained an internship before attending university.

There was variable knowledge about the Oxbridge process especially the interview and the fear of disadvantage [one had a particularly bad experience]. They often lacked resources to prepare for the interview and came from schools that were not familiar with the process. They had sometimes ruled it out. Sometimes the schools and colleges have ruled it out. Personal contacts or school visits, or school trips to Oxbridge supplied a counter — six out of the eight who applied had visited on open days and all found the experience rewarding. Nevertheless, class has often been identified as a factor in self exclusion, and visit days can overcome or confirm this feeling [it overcame it for one respondent].

Language and performativity seem particularly important especially in interviews. One successful candidate posed as a rough diamond and saw the problem as articulation or coming across, the need to 'express symbolic capital through language appearance and presentation or performance' (159). There is a double consciousness here shown in the need to learn the different cultural performance 'or bodily hexis''. Some never succeeded and always felt unwelcome or self excluded.

Chapter 8. Trajectories in Elite Higher Education: Being a Black Man on Campus

This refers to their experiences and how they responded to discriminatory occurrences sometimes when they were perceived as others. Elite universities have a key role in social reproduction and they do this by rewarding cultural capital associated with the dominant class. There is little literature applying this to ethnic minorities, however although we can borrow Bourdieu.

11 of the 15 participants experienced being other during the transition. One respondent attending an elite university where there were few Black students experienced 'cynicism, isolation and exclusion' (165). He did not fit in and did not understand himself sufficiently in order to be able to fit in. Another got to Oxbridge but he was more middle-class. However White students perceived him in a different way than he saw himself — a bit more of a novelty, with more ambiguity, with some discomfort but no outright hostility — he is 'reluctant to acknowledge that he is seen as different due to racism or discrimination' (167). He doesn't think he must fit in and that not blending in is 'inconsequential' because Oxbridge is so tiny.

CRT can help here by affirming the 'centrality of culture and race' (169) and the importance of otherness. Some respondents reported that as well, in the form of quite strong reactions of surprise or judgement, asking if they were really British [so repeating micro-aggressions really, specifically argued on 170] this produced sadness and frustration at low expectations by White students. This was exacerbated by often being the only Black person on campus, which led to them usually being labelled as international students.

Class differences were also prominent, perhaps dominant. One respondent noticed that most of his fellows were 'posh' and had been to private schools, although he himself was lower-middle-class. He did not aspire to be fully middle-class [classic].

One respondent became particularly aware of being Black, made aware by White companions, made paranoid [almost a rehearsal of the elevator scene in Yancy (173)]. They found it hard to make friends. Sometimes they struggled with particularly unpleasant stereotypes by White people — Black people were musclebound, or aggressive and violent. Car thieves. Sometimes this was more tied to class. However it is common for the respondents not to identify 'the occurrences as being racist or discriminatory' especially if they were friends with the perpetrator — this is a refusal to accept that a friend harbours racist perspectives (176) and the preferred interpretation is that friend is ignorant. This keeps the peace, maintains the friendship, avoids being seen as a troublemaker although it makes racism less formal and more difficult to detect.

There are particular stereotypes about 'food, styles and social mores' (177). One respondent reports questions being asked about how Black men treat women, whether they would only take them to chicken places or treat them properly, and this caused surprise at elite universities. The same expectations extend to music or clothes. Again the tendencies to turn these views into 'harmless ignorance'(179) to moderate anger and keep the peace.

There are also accounts of inequities in support for study, being excluded from 'peer to peer revision and tutorial support'. One respondent of Oxbridge did not have '"any personal relationships with tutors"' (180). Another reported a lack of study buddies. One blamed himself for not taking advantage of opportunities. Another said that he had not realised how the system worked and how important it was to have '"parents with connections"' [he was a law student]. Some had more positive relationships with their tutors — one had a Black personal tutor.

Generally all this shows that embodied social and cultural capital is still important in its effect on relationships both with lecturers and other students, because of the misalignment of habitus, or a failure to recognise the rules of the field [hints of Bernstein on transformational grammar here]. These can include informal rules like study rules forming student groups and so on.

Four respondents had a particular fear of failure, a confidence deficit even after acceptance. And thought that this had something to do with being Black. They lacked the reassurance that middle-class White kids had. They were afraid of missing out on their one chance, to focused on the first step of actually getting in, lacking the overconfidence of dominant groups and their sense of entitlement.

Chapter 9 Bodily Hexis and Playing the Cultural Performativity/'Moderate Blackness' Game: Switching up… Or Not

There are different ways to perform Black culture and different ways of perceiving it. A key element is respectability shown in clothing, jewelry, language and how to behave and be masculine these are '"embodied cultural capital"' for Bourdieu. Many had to adjust or conform.

One British Caribbean was isolated at first. He was wearing a baseball cap and big coat and looked like a hoodlum and only the Asian kids sat in the same row as him. — They had come from diverse neighbourhoods. Bourdieu sees bodily hexis as '"a political mythology realised, embodied, turned into a permanent disposition, a durable manner of standing, speaking and thereby of feeling and thinking"' (191). It consists of motor skills and postures. The respondent in question finally realised that students were scared of him. He was a bit hostile at first. It was partly the way he seemed angry when he spoke. This is similar to the way in which working class secondary schools are presumed to be troublemakers because there performativity is misrecognised. This may be 'hegemonic masculinity' (192), but race is also factor.

It has been argued since that masculinity 'is complicated and requires exploration into its frequently fragmented and variable constructions and configurations' (193), and CRT can help by addressing different dominant capitals via Yosso: they may be differently valued in local communities or fields. Having to adjust in higher education can act as a threat to authenticity and selfhood. Interaction is sometimes easier following categorisation into stereotypes, and some reworkings of performativity might involve '"moderate Blackness"' (194) [attributed to Wilkins 2012]. One respondent refers to it as switching up, not wearing particular types of clothes, changing the ways in which you talk, it is like double consciousness. However, it can appear to be 'a mark of dishonesty' (194), as ambiguous as passing, selling out. However most of the participants adopted some 'adjustment or adaptation of their habitus'(195) [one who resisted more than others was a working class British Caribbean]. The same person did not engage very much out of university even though it would have made him feel more at home. He stayed 'true to his local community culture'.

Another respondent said that he had not changed much but had stayed '"true to myself"' (196) except for at his interview, although he did accept the need to change sometime. The former respondent insisted that cultural norms were arbitrary. Only three of the 15 offered any sort of counter narrative explaining their refusal to conform to fit in.

Social origins influence language [Bernstein is cited here as well as Bourdieu and Passeron]. The ESRC studies are cited to show how middle-class parents obtain and maintain cultural resources that align with White middle-class schools habitus. This is reported by several participants as well, especially 'language and how it was spoken' (197). One had elocution lessons at prep school, one middle-class one claimed to speak English better than White people 'in a particular precise/highbrow/BBC manner' (198) and saw this as gaining respect. Robert [?] has suggested that Black middle-class people sometimes actively and knowingly use class signifiers like 'language, voice, intonation, dress' to get acceptance and the participants had some examples where they do this. Such strategies did 'mitigate and/or minimise' racial stereotyping and racism and was a way of dealing with it.

Another participant talked about developing 'a "telephone voice"' (199) taught by his mother who was a secretary, and he used this at his Russell group university, he  also showed double consciousness as he moved between communities and was aware that he might be seen as 'a "sell-out"' or '"posh"' (200).. He had made a conscious decision to present himself differently in different environments and did not experience the 'tug-of-war' experienced by others. He, like others, said that adjustments like this avoided having ignorance and prejudice directed at them. There was even an acknowledgement of aspiring to be middle-class, at least in fitting in a bit, becoming versatile to some extent.

Their success shows that their habitus is 'adaptable, transformative, less fixed and more permeable and responsive' than some researchers have thought (202). However, as Reay argues, there can be '"psychic costs… And tensions"', and students risk being caught offguard. One respondent felt that he had taught some of his close friends a little about Caribbean patois in exchange.

One respondent reported surprise where people actually met him, after perhaps hearing him on the phone or hearing him speak or apply for placements, sometimes even when he is professionally dressed. He has noted the 'discriminatory presumptions' of White people [which are also mixed with class, indeed forming 'an intersection of class and race' (204)]. Sometimes these initial presumptions can provide an advantage preventing negative assumptions developing, and thereby gaining a kind of 'enhanced status' even though they might be challenged by other Black people as being inauthentic. Skeggs sees this as allied to Goffman on dealing with marginalisation, disconnecting oneself from a part of a frame or construct — what Gilroy has called '"shape shifting"' [sometimes colonial masters required Black people to do this, and this had personal and psychological costs]. This particular respondent also thought that it pleased Black people to see him being so positive in achieving something, acting as a role model [sic], aiding his role in community activism (206).

Nevertheless, several [8] respondents reported the stubborn persistence of White stereotypes, seeing Black people as gangsters, failing to distinguish them from being urban or 'generic'. One thought that Black people understood diversity better than White people [rather puzzling references to figures in popular culture to explain] (208), but that diversity among Black people was seen as too much.

Chapter 10 Worldviews and the Management of Racism and Discrimination.

There are different responses possible including 'the discourse of surprise and tolerance' (211). There may be a conscious choice to respond, including confrontation or minimisation [I really don't see the big deal about minimisation — is what we all do]. There may be gender differences and class differences. Moderate Blackness has been discussed and depends on the form of cultural capital [there is some ambivalence about whether it can be learned]. Racism can be understood as ignorance or denial. 10 of the 16 were routinely involved in integrated situations which 'enable them to maintain equanimity and good cross-racial relationships', and this particularly helped to develop emotional restraint.

One respondent reported an Asian girl using the term Nigger and him objecting in a forceful way after being physically upset — he was unable to moderate his Blackness, although the woman apologised later and he accepted that and even blamed himself for not behaving properly.

One possibility involves disengagement, denying the problem, tuning out, although there are costs and benefits to be analysed here. Two participants encountered the difficulties. One was thrown out of the club after a violent incident and were labelled by the police as the cause of the problem although they amicably resolved it in the end, seeing it as a mistake rather than discrimination — 'attributional ambiguity' (215). Another respondent, also present, confirmed the understanding, although he was more suspicious about what would have happened had they decided not to play it safe — he was still puzzled, but had come to realise that there were prejudiced conceptions at work.

Anger is still a frequent response but participants were aware that it was risky to act on it, a possible wrong step, jeopardising earlier hard work and producing criminal records. Even raising a complaint could be counter-productive. Playing it safe was easier.

There were reports of being treated differently by White staff — in six accounts [these are still called counter narratives incidentally]. One respondent was called a moron because he had missed the first class and had not realised there was homework: the lecturer was reacting to the baseball cap and the big coat. Others picked up on misconceptions about Black students and misrecognitions — not realising that Black people were students, or assuming that they had only got there through access courses. They had seen that the assumptions were not made of equivalent students who were White, even if they were working class or female. They attributed the discrimination to their clothing or more generally to the 'way they presented themselves' (218).

One respondent accused lecturers of being '"either classist or racist or something"' excessively hostile, with a '"hostile undertone"'. They felt there were issues, even discrimination, although perhaps they were '"just being paranoid"'. This respondent did not confront, and saw the responses being down to class and race. The issue was how his 'body is perceived or misrecognised by his lecturer', a form of symbolic violence in Bourdieu. The respondent felt there were insufficient grounds to prove his case and this was common. 11 of the participants accepted the consequences and saw it as 'impractical to challenge' and preferred to let it all go unspoken. There is indeed 'a substantial degree of dubiousness as to whether circumstances that occurred are in actuality the result of racism' [I am not sure whether this remark is expressing the views of the respondents — I think so, because this is followed by a sentence referring to 'the implicit yet subtle nature of covert racism enables micro-aggressions to go unchallenged' (221).

Another respondent experiences a 'discriminatory slight from a lecturer' when he is called Tiny Temper, after [the lecturer] trying to use rap as a pedagogy. The lecturer apologised for picking on him. He walked out rather than confront. Five others talked about 'being racially insulted in front of a full lecture hall' (222) and all saw the cost of reactions as excessive — they preferred a moderation of Blackness, a matter of keeping calm to carry on while focusing on getting the degree. At the same time, this may be an example of students not feeling safe, as in hooks, not feeling welcome or being treated as fairly, and two respondents did seem to illustrate this.

Some participants used accounts to overcome threats to self esteem. One said that he thought covert or indirect racism was '"a myth"' (223), that people either were racists or not. This could be 'a product of moderate Blackness', a way of coping with prejudice and discrimination, a 'neoliberal meritocratic worldview' that helps him see people as fair and egalitarian overall. The occurrences likely to be construed as 'ignorant… Not deliberately done' (224), which helps maintain the worldview.

Seven of the participants were able to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable comments or actions. Several said that Black people were always going to experience some degree of racism implying that some discrimination must be tolerated, that it might even be acceptable among friends as long as it is not made public. Others were taught to deal with it by inspiring teachers — '"just be the best that you can be"' and forget about racism, and this is a common theme (225). Racism is just another example of 'poor and disrespectful psychological and interpersonal attitudes of people towards each [other]', disregarding its 'prevalent ingrained and institutionalised significance', failing to see the link with '"real" structural cultural material and symbolic effects' [surprising for the researcher. Blimey, even contradicts Hall!].

One respondents saw personal behaviours as the culprit, racism as subjective, difficult to prove, 'not worthy of challenging'. This is only 'a form of racism management and protection to enable James to maintain focus on his goals' (226), and to be severely contradicted by the researcher: 'racism is not a personality disorder or irrational prejudice. It is an ingrained complex, contradictory and anti-human social practice that is everywhere [quoting Hall]'.

Another respondent was aware of racism and discrimination but emphasised that his parents had refused to accept them as a deterrent. He had even realised that the police were racist and that things were hard for his immigrant parents, but they wanted him to do well nevertheless and to be ambitious and not to '"blame my circumstances on anyone other than myself"' (227) [and he was a working class British African Oxbridge graduate]

The concept of post-racial or race neutral society helps conceal and legitimise racism by denying it, recreating racism as symbolic power. Those who have some 'personal control over their lives had a decreased likelihood to see themselves as victims of racism (Shoery et al. 2002)', and a meritocratic worldview means that people are responsible for their own outcomes [again, Goldthorpe is cited here]. White people who adopt meritocracy helps them regard themselves as high in merit and deny racial privilege — they internalise their own norms and so do some Black students.

Six of his participants denied racism in public spaces in discourses. Acknowledging racism was a mere deterrent to focusing on personal goals and risked being singled out as a complainer or troublemaker, especially in universities. They had experienced discrimination but excused it as being down to lack of knowledge about Black people. One had experienced working in a 'magic circle law firm', and noted the ambiguity of deciding whether the rejection of a Black person was on the basis of merit or race. He was paired with a [rare] mixed race person and was one of only two Black people. The White people explained that it was easier '"to hire someone that you think you are going to get on well with if someone comes from a similar background"' (229), but '"if you're very good then they looked beyond all of that"'. The researcher thought that might be subconscious racism, but the respondent denied it, and said it was just a matter of wondering whether the newcomer might not enjoy it. The researcher says this is an example of misrecognition based on his meritocratic worldview. The respondent has attended an elite university with good grades, has conformed to the habitus of the institution and believes that 'he now embodies the class capitals necessary to be considered recognisable to this firm' (230). He also attributes his success to his Protestant faith and hard work. Accepting that he faced discrimination would mean a serious blow to his worldview and achievement ethic.

For another respondent, racism was always coupled with aggression and intention. Further, Black people were responsible for explaining why something is offensive without calling it out, because it often reflected inquisitive remarks or ignorance. Again this contradicts the literature and is best seen as a coping strategy. It may even have a 'detrimental effect on society' (232) by remaining silent about racism.

[At last he acknowledges that] 'for most people there is a desire for frequent, positive and stable interactions with others… People make efforts to try to get along with everyone'. This means that racism is not acknowledged or confronted and some of the respondents may be 'exercising discrimination dis-identification techniques… To avoid being stigmatised as "other" and to gain acceptance and belonging from the "in groups"… In this case the predominantly White middle-class group at their universities'.

The video prompt did help respondents to discuss discrimination and racism, however. Even so, one respondents said that most of the racist comments were made in fun. Another said that he had 'never experienced racism in University' except as 'banter', again interpreted as a defensive strategy, avoiding being seen as politically correct or unable to take a joke, to the surprise of the interviewer. Racism is seen as belonging to the past. Seven of the participants had accounts similar to this. Again this may be 'a way to explain away or deny the possible instances of racism' (233), responding to 'strong expectations of how he should act within these White middle-class organisations'.

Back to the literature, White middle-class positions have considerable symbolic power which they naturalise, and force incomers to neutralise. [Using the video might have encouraged this tendency to reduce racism do something humorous — comments about wanting to touch Black people's hair, for example is sometimes seen as 'non-aggressive, non-malicious, unintentional and nonracist']. At the same time, one respondent at least recognised that he was in a rather privileged environment interacting with 'reasonably minded people' (235), and that he had acted appropriately, giving White people no grounds to make negative assumptions.

This is interpreted as more of a deliberate strategy to facilitate acceptance, double consciousness again, 'adaptive survival techniques implemented to enable marginalised groups to perform as though they are part of someone else's reality' (236) [and not modifying their own realities]. He can relate to this and is aware of his own double consciousness and [intends?]  only to moderate or naturalise. One respondent did have an emotional reaction to the video and did not see it as very humorous but actually rather hurtful. The same respondent said that he had confronted racism in the past although wanted to avoid being labelled as an angry Black man or troublemaker.

[Rather disappointing for CRT enthusiasts as counter narratives, and requiring a fair bit of interpretation to see them as deliberate strategies. Even then, more than a hint of victimhood]