Black and minority ethnic young people: exploring the silences in the Scottish Highlands
In this thesis I analyse the dynamics of youth, race and rurality by considering the life experiences of young people in relation to race and racism through a small –scale study I have conducted over eight months. The study also investigates the aspirations of eight black and minority ethnic young people living in the Scottish Highlands. The study found that young people’s experiences of racism and racial microaggressions were exacerbated by a ‘conspiracy of silence’ in which institutional actors such as service providers, who are there to support and encourage young people, have knowingly, or inadvertently, contributed to undermining, marginalising and excluding black and minority ethnic young people through misunderstanding or misrecognition of experiences of racialisation in rural areas. I observed how these minority young people engaged in strategies of resistance and resilience as a prevalent response when negotiating racist experiences and racial microaggressions. It was further evident that the deficient practices of institutional actors, such as teachers, youth workers and most service providers play a tangible role in perpetuating racism and racial discrimination in the Highlands. The study recommends that to reduce bias and discrimination against black and minority ethnic pupils requires a range of strategies ranging from enhancing teacher confidence in teaching and addressing different forms of racism, a need for teachers to have training on anti-racist education and pedagogical approaches, recruitment of black and minority ethnic practitioners for different service provision, recognition and promotion of the benefits of multilingualism and opportunities for white majority pupils to have greater exposure to diversity in rural Scotland.