Education and racism
: a study of the teachers' and the pupils' relations in the schooling of black boys

  • Martin G. Stapleton

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis examines the teachers' and the pupils' relations in the schooling of black boys. The study using the methodology of participant observation focusses on one school (Kilby) in an area of black population in an English city. The thesis’s intentions are two fold: firstly, in order to examine these relations, two major aspects of their interaction are addressed, that of the absence of teachers from conventional 'race-relations' research, and, the identification and examination of the anti-school pupils' sub-cultures. Two substantive questions are asked: what is the response of the teachers to the schooling of black pupils? and, what is the meaning of the pupils' resistance to schooling? Secondly, in attempting to answer these questions and offer a critique of the dominant 'race-relations' culturalist explanation of black youth's response to schooling, a theoretical framework has been developed which takes account of both the 'economic' and the 'sociological' perspectives. Methodology allowed and pointed to the importance of examining the teachers' ideologies and practices as well as those of the black boys. It is argued that a class analysis of the racially structured British society is more adequate than the conventional ethnic approach in explaining the black boys' location within Kilby School. Hence, it is posited that the major problem in the schooling of black youth is not that of their culture but of racism, which pervasively structures the social reality at Kilby school. Racism is mediated both through the existing institutional framework that discriminates against working-class youth and through the operation of race specific mechanisms, such as the process of racist stereotyping. It is thus further argued that the Kilby school teachers are of central causal significance to the - problems that the boys encounter. Furthermore, it is in response to these racist ideologies and practices that both West Indian and Asian pupils develop specific forms of collective resistance, which are seen to be linked to the wider black community, as legitimate strategies of survival.
Date of Award1984
Original languageEnglish


  • Education
  • racism
  • teachers' relations
  • pupils' relations

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