Theory, Research, & Praxis
Edited By Donald Jr. Mitchell, Jakia Marie and Tiffany Steele
Chapter Fifteen: Black ≠ Poor: Understanding the Influence of Class on Black Students’ Educational Outcomes
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Understanding the Influence of Class on Black Students’ Educational Outcomes
MARJORIE L. DORIMÉ-WILLIAMS
The plight of poor or low-income minorities, particularly Black individuals, has received a great deal of attention from scholars (e.g., Boyington, Johnson, & Carter-Edwards, 2007; Engberg & Allen, 2011; King, 2010; Moynihan, 1965; Parks-Yancy, 2012; Peskin, Tortolero, Markham, Addy, & Baumler, 2007) in various fields of inquiry (e.g., education, sociology, health). Relatively little extant research focuses on the experiences of middle-income and upper-income Black individuals in the United States. This scarcity is particularly conspicuous in scholarship on higher education in the United States. Indeed, scholarship documenting the collegiate experiences and academic outcomes of Black students who are not classified as low income are all but nonexistent. This intersecting identity offers an important area for research. For many reasons, race and class have become interchangeable in discussions on the conditions of Black people in this country. One apparent reason for this is that there are a disproportionate number of Black indidviduals and families who are below the poverty line. In 2011, 28% of Black individuals were below the poverty line, in comparision to only 10% of White individuals. These statistics along with extensive literature on low-income Black families and individuals contribute to the term low income becoming synonymous with Black, although there is little scholarship on this popular trend (Boyington & Carter-Edwards, 2007; Engberg & Allen, 2011; King, 2010; Moynihan, 1965; Parks-Yancy, 2012; U.S. Census Bureau, 2012a)...
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