Date of Submission

Summer 7-1-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in International Conflict Management (Ph.D. INCM)


Conflict Management

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Darina Lepadatu

Committee Member

Dr. Jesse Benjamin

Committee Member

Dr. Cecile Accilien

Committee Member

Dr. Sylvia Carey-Butler

Committee Member

Dr. Sabine Bacouel-Jentjens


This research project explores the lives of successful French professionals of African descent in France, a country that promotes colorblindness, but where, according to research, minorities experience severe discrimination on the job market. It is a qualitative research study that combines the single case study and the life history research methods strategies to gather data through interviews conducted with 26 participants. 21 were graduates of the “Grandes Ecoles”, France’s most selective higher education institutions, and 5 were graduates of standard French universities. The analysis was framed by contrasting traditional and critical theories addressing the concept of colorblindness. The aim was to identify the career journey and strategies for success of Black professionals in the workplace. The findings indicated that while they were a highly diverse group of individuals, most of the very few who graduated from the “Grandes Ecoles” had immigrated from Africa or were mixed-race individuals, generally from modest economic backgrounds. Their superior educational attainment did not compensate for their lack of social, economic, and cultural capital and did not shield them from experiencing discrimination. Their success was marred with self-censorship, as to succeed on the job market, they had to devise strategies to avoid or neutralize any potential biases from the French hiring managers. This study raises awareness on the situation of highly educated Black professionals in the French workplace and recommends pro-active policies for the inclusion of Black professionals at work and in the society.

Available for download on Wednesday, June 30, 2027