ERIC Number: EJ1162700
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Jan
Abstractor: As Provided
When Black Girls Fight: Interrogating, Interrupting, and (Re)Imagining Dangerous Scripts of Femininity in Urban Classrooms
Esposito, Jennifer; Edwards, Erica B.
Education and Urban Society, v50 n1 p87-107 Jan 2018
The recent death of Amy Joyner, a promising Wilmington, Delaware, high school sophomore demonstrates very clearly the ways in which Black girls are made vulnerable in urban schools. Joyner, an honor roll student, was jumped by a group of girls in the bathroom just before classes began. The alleged cause of the fight was jealousy over a boy. Black girls are bombarded with popular culture messages defining Black femininity along narrow notions of sex appeal, maintaining romantic relationships, and having the ability to fight. Black girls are neither invited in the process of critically examining their popular representation nor supported in thinking through its impact in their own lives. This aspect of the null curriculum, coupled with Black girls' persistent criminalization, makes schools risky places for Black girls. They are left to navigate a society which misunderstands their gender performance without the support or opportunities they need to develop authentic definitions of self, all the while being held subject to beliefs, policies, and practices which surveil and contain them. Despite the neoliberal assault urban educators face, this article argues that urban educators have an epistemic responsibility to critically examine the denigration of Black womanhood in society, incorporate critical media literacy lessons as one response, and pedagogically support Black girls in the creation of counternarratives as a matter of ethical import. Without such practices, urban schools remain complicit in the physical and civic deaths of Amy Joyner, the girls who attacked her, and all other Black girls caught in the web of risk many urban schools leave unexamined.
Descriptors: Femininity, Females, Urban Schools, African American Students, Media Literacy, Bullying, Gender Bias, Sexuality, High School Students, Violence, Death, Aggression
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Information Analyses
Education Level: High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Delaware
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A