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"All the girls are white, all the Blacks are male": experiences of young Black women on the East Coast
Covington, Lisa Danielle
Rothblum, EstherLara, IreneWeber, Shirley
Previous scholarship has found that African American adolescent girls and young women experience isolation, exclusion in the classroom and are assumed to be "deviant" in some research. Such research on Black girls does not include a Black cultural perspective. Nevertheless, Black young women develop methods of resilience throughout their girlhood to overcome these challenges often using these methods into adulthood. Through semistructured interviews and participant observation of four African American teenagers, this qualitative study investigated participants' lives in an urban community center ("Bridges") on the East Coast of the United States. Employing the use of grounded theory, the study found four themes. The first theme was that education was important and central to all participants. The young women found teachers' accessibility, expectations, and curricula to influence their experiences in the classroom. An appreciation of gender-specific programming was the second theme. The programming helped develop self esteem, positive relationships, and community involvement. A key to this programming was the racial makeup of staff at Bridges, in which Black women were the majority. Third, all participants discussed sexual harassment in their schools, neighborhoods and communities, and emphasized the importance of educating younger peers about topics important in their community including sexual harassment. Finally, all four participants were applying to and getting accepted by colleges. Implications of these themes for the lives of young African American girls are discussed.
Arts and Letters
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2010
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