Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Education and Human Services


Family Science and Human Development

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Robert Reid

Committee Member

Sandra Lewis

Committee Member

Pearl Stewart


This qualitative study examined the experiences of racism and discrimination of Black high school students from two diverse high schools in the northeastern United States. Data was collected from 8 individual semi-structured interviews that focused on their lived experiences and how they navigated racialized encounters.

Utilizing (CRT) as a framework, this study revealed the lived reality of the 8 Black high school students. Participants recounted stories of racial stereotyping, discrimination from educators and peers, and the exclusionary aspects of the school’s curriculum and access to resources. Their stories also revealed the use of counterspaces to help them cope. Counterspaces acted as a buffer to their racialized experiences by allowing them the space to use their voice, share their stories, process their feelings and thoughts, and reflect on their experiences. The ability to communicate openly without the threat of feeling judged also supplied them with the tools needed to negotiate future racialized encounters. Findings in the form of storytelling indicate that racism and discrimination exist in diverse spaces negating the idea that diversity signifies equity. Additionally, the results support CRT tenets of the Permanence and Intercentricity of Race and Racism in diverse educational spaces, Critique of Liberalism as an operating premise in education, and the Commitment to Social Justice to evoke change. This study contributes to the limited qualitative research on the voices of Black students’’ lived experiences of racism and discrimination in diverse public high schools and affirms the importance of CRT.

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