This article explores the experiences of academics of colour in elite universities in the UK and the USA. Drawing on interviews with 34 respondents and using a critical race theory perspective, the findings indicate that academics of colour experience racism in the White space of an elite university. To counter the racism they experience, they develop ‘safe spaces’ in which they find empathy and support from other academics of colour. A key finding from the study suggests that despite having negative experiences in elite universities, academics of colour have contradictory feelings about their positions. They disassociate themselves from the racism by recognising the status and prestige associated with working at an elite university. This article suggests that in order for academics of colour to be fully included in elite universities, institutions must acknowledge racism and their own Whiteness to work towards cultural change.
- elite universities
ASJC Scopus subject areas