Date Thesis Awarded

4-2014

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Interdisciplinary Studies

Advisor

Jamel K. Donnor

Committee Member

Robert Vinson

Committee Member

Jeremy Stoddard

Abstract

A literature review, which examined the work of John Ogbu and Signithia Fordham on the notion of “the burden of ‘acting White’”, and ethnographic interviews with African American college students were used to explore the nature of students’ experiences with race and education. More specifically, the study explored the role of racial identity in educational settings, whether academic achievement was ever associated with being White or “acting White,” and if these potential associations affected student attitudes, decisions, or behaviors. The study concluded that role of race in African American students’ educational experiences is specific to each individual student and the way the student has assigned meaning to interactions with other individuals, such as parents, peers, and teachers, and community and system forces.

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