Chapter One: Black Racial Identity: Promoting Academic Achievement and Excellence, Resisting Stereotypes, and the Myth of Acting White
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Black Racial Identity: Promoting Academic Achievement and Excellence, Resisting Stereotypes, and the Myth of Acting White
TABBYE M. CHAVOUS, SEANNA LEATH, AND BRIDGET L. RICHARDSON
Researchers and educators have offered various explanations for Black achievement and underachievement. Many implicate the role of racial identity beliefs, or youths’ self-constructed views concerning the importance of and meanings associated 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 understanding 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.
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