The Public Identities of the Black Middle Classes: Managing Race in Public Spaces

Nicola Rollock, David Gillborn, Carol Vincent, Stephen Ball

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    55 Citations (Scopus)


    Drawing on data from a two-year ESRC-funded project into ‘The Educational Strategies of the Black Middle Classes’, this article examines how middle class blacks negotiate survival in a society marked by race and class discrimination. It considers respondents’ school experiences, marked as they are by incidents of Othering and racism and explores both the processes by which they came to an awareness of their status as racially minoritized and how they made sense of and managed such incidents. The majority of our respondents have made the transition from working class to middle class during their lifetimes. It is argued that these early formative experiences of racism and this class transition have facilitated the development of a complex set of capitals upon which middle class blacks are able to draw in order to signal their class identity to white others therefore minimizing the probability of racial discrimination.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1078-1093
    Issue number6
    Early online date19 Nov 2011
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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