Navigating racialized contexts: the influence of school and family socialization on African American students' racial and educational identity

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Shuntay Z. McCoy (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Andrea Hunter

Abstract: Within the United States, African American students experience school socialization that exposes them to racial segregation, economic stratification, and route learning masked as education. Consequently African American families are compelled to engage in socialization practices that buffer against the adverse influences of racism, oppression, and dehumanization that threaten African American students' pro-social identity development within a racialized society. To investigate how African American students' develop their racial and educational identity within this racialized context I conduct a qualitative investigation to (a) explore African American students' perceptions of the socialization experiences they identify as salient influences on their racial and educational identity; (b) theoretically deconstruct the racialized contexts (i.e., secondary educational institutions) within which African American students are socialized prior to entering college; and (c) examine how variations in African American students' post-secondary contexts differentially reflects their identity development at predominately White institutions (PWIs) and historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). I utilize critical race theory (CRT) and the Phenomenological Variant of Ecological Systems Theory (PVEST) to explore African American students' counternarratives while simultaneously deconstructing the racialized context in which they develop their racial and educational identities. Findings from this study reveal that schools adversely impact African American students' pro-social educational and racial identity development. At a micro-level schools socialize African American students through tracking them into advanced placement, honors, general education, and special education programs. In addition schools engage in macro-level socialization practices that restrict African American students' postsecondary options, skew their perceptions of postsecondary opportunities, and provide substandard preparation for educational advancement. Such institutional practices perpetuate whiteness as property through the right to exclude African American students from access to educational resources; and by maintaining a favorable reputation for white students while perpetuating the characterization of black students as intellectually inferior. Findings also illustrate how African American families engage in racial socialization that includes the educational socialization of African American students through educational modeling, educational continuation, and educational trailblazing. This study yields implications for families, secondary institutions, post-secondary institutions, and future research that promotes educational equity for African American students.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Critical Race Theory, Educational Identity, Family Socialization, Racial Identity, School Socialization, Socialization
African American college students $x Race identity $z United States
African Americans $x Education (Higher)
African American families $z United States

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