Fuller - rejecting negative labels
Mary Fuller (1984) completed a study on a group of black girls at a london comprehensive school, these girls were unusual as they were high achievers in a school that placed the majority of black girls in low streams.
- Instead of accepting negative stereotypes of themselves, the girls channelled their anger into the pursuit of educational success.
- Inconsistant with the behaviour of other successful students they didn't seek approval from teachers, whom they had branded as racist and they also had friends that were placed in lower streams not limiting their choice of friends to academic achievers.
- Continuing on this tangent the girls also only conformed when schoolwork itself was involved, working with great care, but gave the appearance of not doing so. while also showing a deliberate lack of concern for school routine. They relied heavily on their own efforts and external examination rather than teacher approval.
- By avoiding the anti-school culture of others that were negatively labelled the girls maintained a positive self-image relying on themselves and hardwork than the negative label placed upon them.
Mirza- failed strategies for avoiding racism
Heidi Safia Mira (1992) also studied ambitious black girls who faced racism from teachers, who Mirza found actively discouraged black pupils from aspiring through the advice given to them about future employment options.
Mirza identified three types of teacher racism during the study:
- The colour-blind: teachers who say that all students are equal but will not challenge racist behaviour.
- The liberal chauvinists: teachers who see black pupils as culturally deprived individuals and therefore have low expectations of them.
- The overt racists: teacher who see black people as inferior and actively discriminate against them.
The girl's strategy for avoiding racism included being very selective about which staff to ask for help, working alone and not participating in lessons and only choosing subjects with teachers that weren't racist, despite this however the strategies employed were wholly unsuccessful.
Sewell- the variety of boys' responses
Sewell noted that the black boy's response to schooling, including racist streotyping by teachers, can affect their educational achievement.
He identified four responses:
- The rebels - the most visible and influential group, though only a small minority of black pupils exuding an anti-school attitude and a black 'macho' lad culture.
- The conformists - the largest group and unlike the rebels were keen to succeed, accepted the school's goals and had friends from multiple ethnic backgrounds, they didn't want to be stereotyped by teachers or their peers.
- The retreatists - a tiny minority of isolated individuals disconnected from school and black subcultures despised by the rebels.
- The innovators - the second largest group, were pro-education but anti-school. valuing success but did not seek the approval from teachers.(not dissimilar from Fuller's girls).