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Black Culture and Experience

Contemporary Issues


Edited By Venise T. Berry, Anita Fleming-Rife and Ayo Dayo

Black Culture and Experience: Contemporary Issues offers a holistic look at Black culture in the twenty-first century. It is a collection of work that creates a synergy among authors and leads to a valuable resource on contemporary issues. Part One examines institutional, societal, and political issues like identity politics; the Rooney Rule; prosperity gospel; inequality in the criminal justice system; the American dream; the future of Black and Africana studies; and President Obama’s double consciousness. Part Two investigates social, cultural, and community issues such as the Affordable Care Act; Black women and obesity; Black men’s experience in marriage and relationships; sexual decision making; interracial relationships; and cultural racism. Part Three explores media, pop culture, and technology issues including the rise of urban fiction; hip hop and feminism; race in Super Bowl commercials; the construction of Black Diasporic identities; Whiteness in Black-oriented films; Black masculinity in Django Unchained; and the power of Black Twitter. This anthology contains work from leading scholars, authors, and other specialists who have been brought together to highlight key issues in black culture and experience today. The goal is to help readers understand where we are and where we still need to go, what is working and what we still need to work on, what is right and what is still wrong.


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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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