Black male sense of belonging : exploring student voices

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Michael Steven Brown Jr. (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Craig Peck

Abstract: Previous research has shown that Black males do not find schools to be safe spaces or places where they feel a sense of belonging. Instead, they do not feel welcomed (Brooms, 2019a). If students must spend 8 to 9 hours in a place daily, we will want that space to be somewhere they want to be. Findings from research conducted by Collins et al. (2022) confirm that students have a better chance of academic success when affirmed and welcomed. My study aimed to discover where Black male students feel they most belong and why. Specifically, I aimed to answer my main research question: What are Black male teenagers’ experiences with and perceptions of their feelings of belonging in schools and recreation centers? My secondary question was: What recommendations do Black males have for improving their feelings of belonging? For my research, I defined a sense of belonging as a feeling of connectedness with or integration into a community (Hussain & Jones, 2021). In my qualitative study, I interviewed several Black young men attending local high schools and recreation centers in the city of Campbell (a pseudonym). Using the Critical Race Theory (Delgado & Stefancic, 2017) concept of counter-stories, I sought to gain insight into the lived experiences of my participants. In my study, I found that the Black male students who were my participants had different definitions of belonging and what it felt like to them, but some common elements, such as mutual respect, were expressed. In addition, the participants experienced an increased sense of belonging in recreation centers compared to their high schools. They also explained that in recreation centers, they encountered fewer issues with traditional negative stereotypes that typically plague Black males. Finally, the participants recommended schools and recreation centers increase their sense of belonging in those spaces. Their recommendations included that schools ensure fair discipline practices and that recreation centers offer more community events. Some of the key takeaways from my study are that feelings of belonging are relative to personal experience, school size is important, and support is always necessary. I conclude by offering advice for practitioners and future researchers.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2024
Belonging, Black, Males
Belonging (Social psychology)
Teenagers, Black $x Attitudes

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