Risk, Protection, and Identity Development in High-Achieving Black Males in High School

Stacey L. Houston II, Francis A. Pearman II, Ebony O. McGee

The resilience of high‐achieving Black male students is often overshadowed in scholarly literature by narratives of deficit, disorder, and disdain that position Black males as particularly vulnerable in educational spaces. This study builds from two prior analyses of a group of mathematically high‐achieving Black males living in high‐poverty urban communities and attending under resourced schools during their middle school years and focuses on the external risk and protective factors these students experienced during high school. Findings suggest that Black male high achievers were forced to overcome a confluence of institutional and curricular barriers while leveraging relational and organizational resources that promoted positive identity development and mathematics achievement.

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