A new report by the Center for the Study of Race and Equity at the University of Pennsylvania, shows that there are programs and strategies that can help young Black men succeed in high school and beyond.
Shaun R. Harper, director of the center, opens the report with the following plea:
“Please stop mischaracterizing young men of color as hopeless thugs who care nothing about their education, communities, and futures. Ways in which Black and Latino male teens, especially those who reside in America’s largest cities, are persistently portrayed in media and elsewhere negatively affect society’s expectations of them and, at times, their expectations of themselves. Visions of them in urban high schools are almost universally negative – they are expected to be the perpetrators of school violence and at the bottom of every statistical metric of educational excellence. Viewing these young men through deficit-colored lenses sustains a depressing, one-sided narrative about their social and educational outlook. They deserve to be seen differently.”
Rather than dwell on negative stereotypes, Dr. Harper and his associates wanted to determine how young minority men who do succeed, have been able to achieve their goals. The study documents the success stories of 415 participants in the New York City Black and Latino Male High School Achievement Study. The report shows how these young men succeeded in and out of school, developed college aspirations, became college-ready, and navigated their paths to postsecondary education.
The report offers recommendations on what teachers, school administrators, guidance counselors, and parents can do to help their minority male students succeed. The study, Succeeding in the City, may be downloaded here.
Dr. Harper is a graduate of Albany State University in Georgia. He earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in higher education from Indiana University.