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ERIC Number: ED281948
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Dec-5
Pages: 59
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Black Students' School Success: Coping with the "Burden of 'Acting White.'"
Fordham, Signithia
Black adolescents have learned a well-defined fear of "acting white": a fear of excelling in academic arenas which traditionally have been defined as the prerogative of white Americans. The focus of this analysis is the resulting conflict experienced by academically successful and unsuccessful black students in one predominantly black high school in Washington, D.C. The basic premise is that black students experience inordinate ambivalence and affective dissonance around the issue of academic excellence in the school context. This paper contains four sections. The first briefly reviews the theoretical and ethnographic literature on how the black ecological structure affects the school performance of black students, highlighting the fictive kinship system in the black community. The second section reviews existing research literature and autobiographical data on black students' success, noting the existence of a fictive kinship system in the black community and in academic success (including the notion of "acting white"). The third part considers ethnographic evidence from recent fieldwork, presenting preliminary findings from that research setting. The final section discusses the implications of the analysis, focusing on the "burden of acting white" and academic success among black adolescents. A six-page reference list is appended. (LHW)
Publication Type: Reports - General; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Spencer Foundation, Chicago, IL.; National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (84th, Washington, DC, December 3-7, 1985). For related documents, see UD 025 502-504.