The experiences of racially minoritised individuals in academia has exercised the minds of several researchers in England over many years (Bhopal and Jackson, 2013; Bhopal and Pitkin, 2020; Gabriel, 2017a; Miller, 2016; Mirza, 2006; Stockfelt, 2018a). The career experiences of British African Caribbean males (BACMs) as a separate unique group have however escaped the attention of researchers. These individuals who are descendants of the Windrush Generation are largely situated at the bottom of the academic career ladder HESA, (2020) and have historically faced discrimination in the workplace (Collins, 2019; Hall, 2021; Peach, 1991b).
This thesis examined the factors that impact on the participation and progression of BACMs in English academia through the combined lens of The Silences Framework (SF) (Serrant-Green, 2011) and the theoretical framework of Intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1989).
The career experiences of fifteen BACMs were obtained using an 18-point semistructured interview guide. The collected data was complemented by the ‘silence dialogue’ and verified using the ‘collective voices’ embedded in The Silences Framework. Analysis used The Silences Framework Serrant-Green, (2011) and Braun and Clarke, (2006a) to uncover the ‘Silences’ embedded in participants’ narratives. This thesis contributes to the body of knowledge by addressing the distinct gap in the literature surrounding the factors that impact on participation and progression of BACMs in academia. Firstly, from a theoretical perspective I am yet to see another study among British African Caribbean Males in academia which utilises the tenets of intersectionality in conjunction with The Silences Framework. Secondly, utilising the joint methodological framework of The Silences Framework in conjunction with the analysis of framework of Braun and Clark 2006 among this population of participants has not previously been undertaken.
Thirdly, the interplay between BACM career progression and intersectionality was identified as the findings revealed that the career participation and progression of BACMs were impacted on by several ‘Silences’. These include racial discrimination and microaggression, structural and institutional racism, intersectional identity exclusion and being racially undervalued. The intersection of multiple identities as well as race, class and ethnicity continue to impact on BACMs’ career participation and progression. Finally, this thesis identified several strategies used by BACMs to address barriers to career participation and progression that could be used to inform policy and procedures in academia as well as BACMs in negotiating the
academic Space. These strategies include a multidimensional approach of six steps involving (i) engagement with role models, (ii) mentors and sponsors, (iii) social activism, (iv) having a voice, (v) networking and (vi) asserting one’s identity and visibility.
This thesis proposes a six-step stairway to organisational support for participation and progression of BACMs in the workplace which is hinged on White faculty acknowledging, understanding, recognising, and acting on the racial inequality that exist in higher education settings. In conclusion, the most important way to achieve this is by policy, engagement, and positive procedural changes.