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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Counter Narrative: Reframing Success for High Achieving Black and Latino Males in Los Angeles County

  • Author(s): Howard, Tyrone C
  • Woodward, Brian
  • Navarro, Oscar
  • Haro, Bianca N
  • Watson, Kenjus T
  • Huerta, Adrian H
  • Terry, Clarence L, Sr
  • et al.
The data associated with this publication are within the manuscript.

While the educational plight of Black and Latino males persists as an area of interest, the challenge for scholars is to examine young men of color without reifying a singular narrative. The primary goal of the study was to identify people, programs, and practices within the home, school, and community that have had a positive impact on Black and Latino males in Los Angeles County.  The theoretical framework guiding the study was Yosso’s (2005) community cultural wealth, which is utilized to disrupt deficit based depictions of people of color. The authors sought to recognize the cultural capital possessed by Black and Latino males across six diverse high schools in LA county. There were a total of 201 participants, including: 113 Latinos, 67 Blacks, and 21 mixed male students. Participation in the study was contingent on teacher and or administrator recommendations of 10th-12th grades students who possessed a g.p.a. of 2.5 or higher, who demonstrated leadership abilities, and who exhibited resiliency either in school and or at home. Data collection included semi-structured interviews that were audio recorded, transcribed, and input into a qualitative data analysis software. Findings revealed a need for student-teacher relationships to extend beyond the classroom, school and community organizations to provide more social and emotional support, school personnel to push for a culture of success, the importance of challenging traditional notions of masculinity, and the recognition by stakeholders that Black and Latino males are resilient. The report is significant because the center of analysis is the voices of two of the most marginalized student groups; allowing Black and Latino males to define success in their own terms, counter conventional narratives of underachievement, and provide an better understanding of what motivates them to be successful.

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