Male Underachievement in High School Education in Jamaica, Barbados, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Male Underachievement in High School Education in Jamaica, Barbados, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Male Underachievement in High School Education in Jamaica, Barbados, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Male Underachievement in High School Education in Jamaica, Barbados, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Excerpt

The research upon which this publication is based came about because of growing regional (as well as international) concern about the educational performances of males. This concern reflects wider social anxiety about the plight of men more generally and black men in particular, and has culminated in the 'marginalized male' thesis which has gained much popular support as well as academic attention.

Among academics the concept of male marginalization has provoked a mixed response. Pedro Noguera (1996) has taken issue with the usage of terms such as 'crisis', 'at risk', 'marginal' and 'endangered' to describe the plight of black males in America, Britain and the anglophone Caribbean. While not disputing the broad array of social and economic indicators that may locate many black males in lower socioeconomic categories, black women, he argues, are rendered invisible. He asks, "What does this mean for black women and aren't they in crisis too?" Furthermore, the term 'crisis' suggests a short-term urgency brought about by recent events, whereas Noguera points out there is nothing new about the problems black men currently face and nor is there evidence that their situation is improving. On the contrary, both in America and the Caribbean available figures suggest that, first, things are worsening for black men and, second, hardships they are facing are no more than those facing black women. Noguera also points out how the construction of marginalized man makes an implicit assumption that black males share the same experiences and problems as white males and also that all black men share identical problems.

There is a valuable lesson here to be learnt from feminist research which has taught us that it is important not to make assumptions or base any analysis of Caribbean women on extrapolations from our understandings of the experiences of women elsewhere. Feminist research in both America and Britain, for example, highlights the dissimilarities between constructions of black female gender identity and mainstream white female constructions of femininity (Dill 1987; Mirza 1992), and . . .

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