Date of Award

June 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African American Studies


Zaline M. Roy-Campbell


Critical race theory, Forced migration, Multicultural education, Race, Refugees, Somali Bantu

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


"Negotiating Formal Schooling, Multiple Identities, and Community Advocacy: (Counter)-Narratives of the Somali Bantu Refugees in the United States" examines the educational experiences of Somali-Bantu refugees resettled in Upstate, New York. It explores how they negotiate their multiple identities - race, gender, class, religion, culture, language, accent, and immigrant status -within the formal school setting and environment. Additionally, it highlights the role of the Somali Bantu community organizations in advocating and implementing resettlement services and academic resources for their people. Using critical race theory as theoretical lens and methodology, a qualitative research was conducted to collect data from nine Somali Bantu participants. The findings suggest that the participants experienced both successes and challenges while negotiating formal schooling. Their multiple identities subjected them to bias and discrimination within the schools and the society. Nonetheless, the community organizations play a significant role in supporting their children’s academic achievement as well as sustaining their cultural values and language. Based on the findings, the study recommends strategies and reforms that are conducive for equity in education, academic achievement, and cultural tolerance for a successful transition and integration of the Somali Bantus and other refugees in the United States.


Open Access