2017/18 Project Abstracts

Asherwood: The Impact of Colourism on Black Students Experiences at University

Colourism is discrimination based on skin colour with darker skinned individuals experiencing prejudice or discrimination from members of their own ethnic or racial group.  This study explored the impact of colourism on Black students experiences at university. 10 Black students (6 females and 4 males, age range 20-23 years) were recruited using an opportunity sample.  The participants took part in a semi-structured interview that lasted up to an hour.  The interviews were recorded and transcribed.  The subsequent data was analysed using a phenomenological approach to produce a generalised meaning structure of the collective experiences of all participants.  The generalised meaning structure indicated that colourism has had a negative impact on Black student experience within university with individuals indicating low-self esteem as a result of being made to feel inferior due to their dark skin tone or that they attempted to appear more European.  These findings would suggest that the colourist ideology has been internalised in the minds of individuals within the Black community.  It was concluded that colourism effects black students in terms of their cognitions, emotions and behaviour.

Bailey: Exploring Black people’s perception of self and other in regards to stereotypes and social expectation within the Black community: A grounded theory

Skin tone is a prominent issue within the Black community impacting self-identity and influencing perceptions of other Black people.  This grounded theory study examined Black people’s perceptions of Black identity and perceptions of other Black people.  Seven Black undergraduate students were recruited, five female and two male (age range 19-23 years). Data was collected using semi-structured interviews, which were recorded and transcribed.  The analysis of the transcripts revealed that constant exposure to negativity regarding darker skin colours resulted in individuals viewing darker skin colours as inferior. Some of those with darker skin expressed a need to change themselves in terms of own skin colour and behaviour. Sympathy was also expressed towards those individuals that felt they had to change who they are. Overall, Black individuals were expected to conform to the Black ideology or else be alienated, having their racial identity rejected, despite this .due to the pro-Black movement some individuals have started their journeys to self-acceptance. The media was perceived to portray a biased viewpoint of Black people, which influences some Black peoples’ perception of other Black people. In conclusion it is argued that there is a need for Black people to thrive and excel to create a positive images of the Black community and for Black families introduce their children to a more diverse representation of Black people.

Carnegie: Diversity and lived experience: Explorations of female undergraduate experience of everyday sexism

Everyday sexism is the instances of sexism experienced by women on a daily basis.  This qualitative study explores the female experience of everyday sexism in a university setting.  Female undergraduate students from the University of Roehampton and the University of Brighton were recruited and interviewed with a total of 6 hours of interview data being gathered.  The data was transcribed and analysed using the phenomenological approach of Worthen and McNeil (1996).  The generalised meaning structure indicated that sexism and sexist views are significantly more targeted towards females in a university setting than males and that this is considered to be unfair.

Davis: An Exploration of Ageism in an Undergraduate Student Population

Age can be a factor in how people perceive and judge others in terms of personality as well as being implicated when considering peoples’ mental and physical capacities. The pejorative judgement of others based on assumptions regarding their age is ageism.  Ageism is a lesser known and lesser spoken about form of discrimination which has received limited academic attention. This study addresses this gap in the literature by examining how undergraduate students experience and perceive age and age-based prejudice within the context of their life in university and throughout their journey in life so far. Eight participants; students from Roehampton University were interviewed, their accounts were analysed using phenomenology in order to gain a rich insight into their experiences. The generalised meaning structure suggested students felt inexperienced compared to those older than them and perceived their elders as wiser. The idea that society has formed the stages in which we progress through life resonated with participants as a daunting prospect that people can be made to accept that their age was a deterministic factor limiting freedom of choice. Overall, there was a consensus that age should be individualised in the interest of preventing expectations and judgments about a person based only on how old they are.

Goddard-Day: Understanding the misconception and perceptions of Black men in the and acknowledging the influence of the media in the UK

There are a many pejorative stereotypes about Black men, which often circulate widely as a result of media reporting.  This qualitative study aimed to focus on the personal experience of being a Black man in the UK and how the media has contributed in perpetrating negative perceptions of Black men and its impact.  The participants consisted of 13 Black men between the ages of 18-50 years of age. Most participants were recruited from the university of Roehampton whilst others were recruited externally.  Participants were interviewed and the resulting interview data subject to phenomenological analysis to establish the essence and experience of each participant and to create a generalised meaning structure.  The salient findings of the study indicate that the media has influenced how the population view the Black male.  The men who participated in this study categorically felt that negative reporting far outweighed any positive stories, documentaries, or articles.  It was also clear that within the Black community it is the minority who participate in gang related activities but it was felt this was the main focus of the media.

Naeem: Exploration of the Impact of the rise of Islamophobia on the University Experience of Muslim Students

Since the turn of the 21st century Islamophobia has been on the rise in the West, however there is limited research that examines the lived experience of Islamophobia on young Muslim women. This qualitative study aimed to address this gap aiming to explore the effects of Islamophobia on student lives and to see whether the rise of religious hate crime has made them more vigilant during their day-to-day life activities.  In addition to this, this study was designed to see if decisions about the future have been affected due to ongoing fear of Islamophobia.  This study analyses the experiences of young female Muslim university students and the impact the rise of Islamophobia has had on their experience of university.  10 female Muslim students aged 18-23 took part.  Participants derived from two ethnic backgrounds, Somali and Pakistani.  The participants were interviewed and the interview transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.  Four major themes emerged from the results; (1) fear of travelling, (2) awareness, (3) courage, and (4) isolation. Overall the women who were interviewed indicated that they had experienced instances of Islamophobia which had left them fearful, however as a result of this they exhibited courage in going about their daily lives, maintaining awareness of potential further instances.  The women felt that if they did not exhibit courage and continue their day-to-day activities, long term this could lead to isolation from society.

Sebuilba: An exploration of Black women’s experience of the representation of black women in the media

As the world of technology grows the number of people that have access and exposure to the media, and its representations of the population, has significantly increased. Historically there has been psychological research into the effects of the media on society, particularly the mental health of young women. However, like the media, psychology is often whitewashed, thus creating a gap in the knowledge and understanding of other ethnic groups. Using Phenomenological Analysis, this research focused on the experience of young Black women of the representation of Black women in the media.  13 Black female psychology undergraduates form the University of Roehampton took part in semi-structured interviews. The analysis of the interview transcripts indicated three significant aspects that make up young Black women’s experience of the representation of Black women in the media: 1) difficulty identifying with the women in broadcast media, 2) the representation of Black women on social media encourages self-love and acceptance, and 3) the representation of Black women on social media creates a new standard of beauty.  These findings offer a narrative of experience that suggests that although the experience of the representation of Black women in the media began as a negative, through social media it is simultaneously improving and adapting to the mould of broadcast media through the development of ideal standards.

Toni-Uebari: BAME Students Experiences of Racial Based Microaggressions and Stereotypes

Racism is an issue that can affect ethnic minorities on a daily basis. It has been shown to have negative effects on both physical and psychological health.  In more recent years there has been a shift from blatant discrimination to more subtle forms (Pettigrew & Meertens, 1995). This has led to microaggressions aimed towards marginalised groups as well as racial stereotyping. The aim of this study was to look at Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) student’s experiences of racially based microaggressions and stereotyping. Fourteen BAME students from the University of Roehampton took part in semi-structured interviews about their own experiences. Grounded theory was the chosen methodology to create an in-depth overview of these perspectives, also specifically relating to their university experience. Results found that all participants had frequent experiences with microaggressions and stereotyping, be it positive or negative. These experiences led to adverse effects on the individuals ranging from self-doubt, internalisation of negative stereotypes and feeling stripped of their identities. A general consensus among all the students was that greater attention and awareness needs to be brought to issues such as microaggressions and stereotyping because of their subtle nature.