School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Verlyn Evans


African American Male Teacher, Critical Race Theory, Hermeneutic Phenomenology, Tokenism




The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological investigation was to explore and ascribe meaning to the lived and professional experiences of African American male educators as functions of the practices (i.e., systemic policies and interactions with colleagues) of a suburban school system. The philosophical frameworks guiding this study were Critical Race Theory (Bell, 1970) and Tokenism (Kanter, 1977) as they relate, respectively, to the effects of engendered racism and the implications of the invisibility and hypervisibility associated with being Black male instructors. The three related sub-questions involved (1) the contributing roles of school systems’ procedures to the encounters of this group of educators (2) the additive impact of this phenomenon as a result of Black male teachers’ interactions with colleagues and educational stakeholders and (3) meanings assigned to these experiences as related to race, racism, and tokenism. The data was collected via open-ended, semi-structured interviews, an analysis of participant-provided professional artifacts, and a focus group with select respondents. Participants’ feedback was recorded via an electronic device and subsequently transcribed to ensure the accuracy of teachers’ responses. Data analysis was conducted using the tenets of hermeneutic phenomenology as defined by van Manen (1997) to include epoché, imaginative variation, clustering of recurring themes, and ascription of meaning. Factors related to gender, race, racism, and the emblematic status of being a Black man were found to impact the ways in which male educators of color assigned levels of significance to their lived and professional experiences. The aforementioned analysis created the basis for findings and implications of the current study as well as recommendation of additional topics for future investigation.

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