Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Education


Despite rhetoric of a meritocratic education system, there is little doubt that race still plays a significant role in advantaging white students while disadvantaging black students in school. These advantages and disadvantages are subtly carried out. The root causes of racial disparities in schools are not easily identified and often considered taboo outside of the academy. There is little research that assesses the ways in which students understand the relationship between race and schooling when compared to professional educators. Therefore, the research question for this project was: What language and perspectives do school personnel use in discussing race and what language and perspectives do black students use in discussing race? This project discovered that black students experience subtle mechanisms of disadvantage in school because race is not addressed by faculty members, black identity is not ascribed as "academic," and a racial divide exists between a majority white faculty and black students. This project also argues that black students experience hegemonic influences which cause them to fail to see the race through in a critical and systematic way.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.