Edited By Venise T. Berry, Anita Fleming-Rife and Ayo Dayo
Part 1: Institutional, Societal, and Political Issues
Researchers and educators have offered various explanations for Black achieve- ment and underachievement. Many implicate the role of racial identity beliefs, or youths’ self-constructed views concerning the importance of and meanings asso- ciated with their racial group membership (Sellers, Smith, Shelton, Rowley, & Chavous, 1998). Black youth in the United States often face structural and social risks as a function of their racial group, including racial barriers, discrimination, and negative stereotype-based treatment; and these risk factors have been linked to negative educational outcomes. Therefore, a popular perspective within social science literatures and in educational and popular discourse is that a stronger Black identity places youth at risk for decreased academic engagement and achievement. However, there is more historical, theoretical, and empirical evidence that a strong connection to racial identity, including racial pride and an awareness and under- standing of racial bias, can promote Black youths’ achievement and help them maintain academic motivation and engagement, especially in the face of racial barriers or negative stereotypes. In this chapter, we address these perspectives by providing an overview of social science frameworks positioning Black racial identity as detrimental to or promotive of Black youths’ achievement. Based on our review, we posit that the continued positioning of Black identity as incompatible with pro-education values and achievement—despite strong evidence to the contrary—reflects historical and contemporary deficit framing of African Americans. Our review also suggests c h a p t e r o n e Black Racial Identity: Promoting Academic Achievement and Excellence, Resisting Stereotypes,...
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