Keepin' It Real: The Black Male's (Dis) Ability to Achieve in Higher Education

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Adrienne Louise Phillips (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Hephzibah Roskelly

Abstract: The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the absence of disadvantaged black males in higher education and reduce their increasing presence in prison, the historical and cultural factors that contribute to that absence, as well as research that explores those factors. Then, using theory and research on literacy and difference and interviews with some black male, it will offer some suggestions for pedagogical initiatives in institutions to alter the educators' perception of and service to black male students. By developing programs, workshops and reorganizing curriculum design specifically to encompass the creation of the inner-city black males, educators would hope to empower them in higher education. Many times throughout history, the black male voice has been admonished for being too sexual, too violent, or too real. Each time academia has acknowledged the presence of black males; it has studied and examined their voices and images. However, of recent, studies show that black men are the least population to graduate from these institutions with college degrees. Many researchers and educators have questioned examined the possible factors that lead to black males inability to attain a degree--the influence of street life, the social mistreatment of them in the classroom, their ideals of manhood. Whatever the cause, the alarm has sounded. Sustainability of black male students begins with presence, and development and acknowledgement of voice strengthens presence. It has been many years since the black male voices of the Harlem Renaissance and the emergence of internationally acclaimed black male artists such as Dubois, McKay, Hughes, Cullen, and Wright expressed their experiences in America. Just as Langston Hughes poems, good rap as good poetry, seeks to "explain and illuminate the Negro condition in America" (721). Rap is one of the new male voices and does more "than reveal the pain of poverty"; it tells the story of some experiences that black people, the black male, inner-city dwellers, and the impoverished have experienced in America. Many of the already mentioned authors are now not only accepted as part of the canon, but also heralded for their creative expressions in the throes of oppression. By analyzing what is being said and why it is being said educators are creating programs and courses to encourage disadvantaged black male students to critically think about their community, life circumstances, and their place in society, thus giving them a voice in society and academia while broadening their experiences.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2007
Language, Rhetoric and Composition

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