BLACK, MALE, AND HIGH-ACHIEVING: AN EXAMINATION OF A RISK FACTOR AND CULTURAL RESOURCES FOR BLACK MALE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT
Smith Bynum, Mia
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Black boys are confronted with unique educational circumstances. They are often misdiagnosed and misplaced into special education programs (Bush-Daniels, 2008; Patton, 1998; Terman et al., 1996). Additionally, they are less likely to be enrolled in gifted and talented programs, even if their former achievements reflect their aptitude to succeed (Black Alliance for Educational Options, n.d.; Moore & Flowers, 2012). Given these statistics, a considerable emphasis has been placed on the causes and the consequences of low/under achievement for this population. As a result, the experiences of Black males who are achieving have been greatly neglected. Moreover, little is known about the factors that facilitate academic achievement among high-achieving Black boys. In an effort to bring the heterogenic nature of schooling experiences for Black boys to light, the present study examined the influence risk and protective factors had on the academic experiences of high-achieving Black boys. Grounded in the risk and resilience framework and the Integrative Model for the Study of Minority Youth Development, this study explored whether the high-achieving Black high school boys in this sample (n =88) reported experiencing discrimination (i.e. academic-based) and how this academic-based discrimination related to their 1) academic performance (i.e. GPA), 2) perceptions of math ability, and 3) race-based academic self-concept. In addition to exploring how academic-based discrimination was linked to academic achievement, this study examined how cultural resources such as racial socialization messages and racial identity related to academic achievement. Specifically, cultural socialization, preparation for bias, egalitarianism, private regard and public regard were evaluated alongside the three academic outcomes under study. Finally, the study explored whether aspects of racial socialization or racial identity buffered the effects of discrimination on any of the outcomes. Interestingly, the race/ethnicity of the student mattered for how students perceived their math ability. The risk factor academic-based discrimination was linked to academic performance. Cultural resources cultural socialization, preparation for bias, and private regard were linked to various academic outcomes of interest. There was only one significant moderating effect: a high private regard buffered the relationship between academic-based discrimination and race-based academic self-concept. Limitations and implications of this study are discussed.