Academically Gifted African American Male College Students

Academically Gifted African American Male College Students

Academically Gifted African American Male College Students

Academically Gifted African American Male College Students

Synopsis

Less than ten percent of the nation's higher education studies in gifted programs focus on African American populations, and less than half of those studies focus on African American males. In addition, only two percent of the research analysis conducted on post-secondary gifted programs focuses on African American students and the factors contributing to their success.

Excerpt

Perhaps the best response to the question posed in the heading is to invoke the use of the old proverb, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Given the ten-year time lapse since my initial interview with the two academically gifted African American males, a legitimate query is how relevant and applicable are these findings in a very contemporary context? In essence, do the experiences and narratives shared by these two men a decade ago have any salience today? As much as I would like to say that many of the challenges these men articulated have lost their savor and have been completely replaced by more affirming and positive engagements, such has not been the case.

Invariably the stories that these men shared, along with the experiences I was able to chronicle through observations and the collection of written documents, highlight a number of recurrent patterns. For example, the themes that were uncovered in the initial research study included relationships with faculty, peer relationships, family influence and support, factors influencing college selection, self-perception, and institutional environment. A survey of the current literature (Bonner & Evans, 2004; Cuyjet and Associates, 2006; Fashola, 2005; Ginwright, 2004; Hughes & Bonner, 2006; Kershaw, 2001; Kunjufu, 2005; Shujaa, 1994; White & Cones, 1999) focusing on African American males in secondary as well as postsecondary settings reveals many of the same maladies that existed since the initial study was conducted. A focus on the literature (Bonner, 2001; Bonner & Jennings, 2007; Bonner, Jennings, Marbley, & Brown, 2008; Ford, 1995; Ford, Grantham, & Harris, 1998; Ford, Harris, Tyson, Frazier-Trotman, 2002; Fries-Britt, 1998; Fries-Britt & Turner, 2002; Harper, 2005; Hebert, 1998; Hebert, 2002) highlighting academically gifted African American males in particular reveals similar problems that this cohort continues to face.

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