Racialized Identities: Race and Achievement among African American Youth

Racialized Identities: Race and Achievement among African American Youth

Racialized Identities: Race and Achievement among African American Youth

Racialized Identities: Race and Achievement among African American Youth

Synopsis

As students navigate learning and begin to establish a sense of self, local surroundings can have a major influence on the range of choices they make about who they are and who they want to be. This book investigates how various constructions of identity can influence educational achievement for African American students, both within and outside school.

Unique in its attention to the challenges that social and educational stratification pose, as well as to the opportunities that extracurricular activities can offer for African American students' access to learning, this book brings a deeper understanding of the local and fluid aspects of academic, racial, and ethnic identities. Exploring agency, personal sense-making, and social processes, this book contributes a strong new voice to the growing conversation on the relationship between identity and achievement for African American youth.

Excerpt

THIS Book is about identity processes and their relation to learning and schooling as they play out in the lives of African American youth. It is a culmination of, and reflection on, years of research inside and outside of schools and draws on findings from several studies of African American adolescents. Some of these studies focused on the learning and identity that were afforded in out-of-school settings, such as basketball, dominoes, and track and field. Other studies explored the ways that identity processes took shape in schools—almost always urban schools, which struggled to establish an intellectual culture and build the infrastructure and practices to support students’ academic potential.

My research on the identities of African American students takes place against a backdrop of widespread inequity in our schools nationally. Schools attended by African American students tend to be characterized by lower grading standards, less (and less deep) coverage of curriculum material, and less money spent per pupil and are more likely to be in physical disrepair (Darling-Hammond, 2000, 2010; Ferguson, 2007; Oakes, 2004; Orfield, 2001). Teachers in such schools are less likely to be credentialed, are newer to the profession, and are more likely to teach by “drill-and-kill” methods (Darling-Hammond, Williamson, and Hyler, 2008; Lankford, Loeb, and Wyckoff, 2002). To make matters worse, both . . .

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