Harper, S. R. (2013). Am I my Brother’s teacher? black undergraduates, racial socialization, and peer pedagogies in predominantly white postsecondary contexts. Review of Research in Education, 37(1), 183-211.
Much has been written over the past five decades about the experiences of Black students on predominantly White college and university campuses. Willie and Cunnigen (1981) synthesized 130 studies published between 1965 and 1980, many focused on students’ confrontations with exclusion, racism, racial stereotypes, and toxic campus racial climates. Sedlacek (1987) found similar themes in his review of 20 years of literature on Black undergraduates at postsecondary institutions at which they were minoritized.1 Shown in Figure 1 are increases in undergraduate enrollments over a 30-year period; as Black enrollments increased, so too did the number of undergraduates overall. Despite modest gains in access and attainment, contemporary cohorts of Black collegians still encounter campus environments with racial dynamics akin to those described in studies from decades prior. Contemporary scholars continue to document many of the same themes reported in Willie and Cunnigen’s (1981) review more than 30 years ago
The aims of this chapter are twofold: (a) to review an extensive body of research that focuses almost exclusively on racial problems Black students face at predominantly White institutions (PWIs) and (b) to provide insights into how Black students manage to productively navigate racist college and university environments. Hardly anything has been published about the latter. In the next section, I present a conceptual framework that was used to organize the literature and generate new research questions concerning student success in racially alienating and hostile spaces. Next, Black students’ experiences on predominantly White campuses are placed in a historical context, followed by a review of several recently published studies on how Black students respond to and are affected by campus environments in which they routinely encounter racial stress and stereotypes. I then use data from a national study to showcase pedagogies Black undergraduates employ in teaching their same-race peers and other minoritized students about navigating the racial climate at PWIs, as well as the sites in which such instruction occurs.
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