1st Edition

The Colour of Class
The educational strategies of the Black middle classes

ISBN 9780415809825
Published November 16, 2014 by Routledge
220 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

USD $56.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

How do race and class intersect to shape the identities and experiences of Black middle-class parents and their children? What are Black middle-class parents’ strategies for supporting their children through school? What role do the educational histories of Black middle-class parents play in their decision-making about their children’s education?

There is now an extensive body of research on the educational strategies of the white middle classes but a silence exists around the emergence of the Black middle classes and their experiences, priorities, and actions in relation to education. This book focuses on middle-class families of Black Caribbean heritage.

Drawing on rich qualitative data from nearly 80 in-depth interviews with Black Caribbean middle-class parents, the internationally renowned contributors reveal how these parents attempt to navigate their children successfully through the school system, and defend them against low expectations and other manifestations of discrimination. Chapters identify when, how and to what extent parents deploy the financial, cultural and social resources available to them as professional, middle class individuals in support of their children’s academic success and emotional well-being. The book sheds light on the complex, and relatively neglected relations, between race, social class and education, and in addition, poses wider questions about the experiences of social mobility, and the intersection of race and class in forming the identity of the parents and their children.

The Colour of Class: The educational strategies of the Black middle classes will appeal to undergraduates and postgraduates on education, sociology and social policy courses, as well as academics with an interest in Critical Race Theory and Bourdieu.

The Colour of Class was awarded 2nd prize by the Society for Educational Studies: Book Prize 2016.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Race and Class: Background and Context.  Race, Class Status and Identification  Part 1: Black Middle Classes and School  Choosing Schools: Searching for ‘the Right Mix’.  Parents’ Aspirations and Teacher Expectations.  Race, Class, Disability and ‘Special Educational Needs’.  Parents’ Engagement and Involvement in Schools  Part 2: Black Middle Classes and Society  Raising the Healthy Black Middle Class Child.  Strategies for Survival: Managing Race in Public Spaces.  Continuity and Difference Across Three Generations.  A Colour-blind Future?

View More



Nicola Rollock is Lecturer in Education and Deputy Director of the Centre for Research in Race and Education, University of Birmingham, UK. 

David Gillborn is Professor of Critical Race Studies and Director of the Centre for Research in Race and Education, University of Birmingham, UK.

Carol Vincent is Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, UK.

Stephen J. Ball is Karl Mannheim Professor of Sociology of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, UK.


"The Colour of Class closes a major gap in research on classed-based parenting and educational inequality by putting the spotlight on the intersection of race and class. This well-written and dynamic book will be enthusiastically welcomed by researchers and graduate students in the field of educational inequalities, minority schooling, and anti-oppressive education." - Max Anthony Newman, London Review of Education

"Recommended reading for educators seeking to develop their critical thinking about social justice issues in relation to the education of the Black child. [This book] will assist with the critical and difficult dialogues that take place in or outside the classroom."— Victoria Showunmi, Educational Review