African American Females

African American Females: Addressing Challenges and Nurturing the Future

Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher
Vernon C. Polite
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 440
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.14321/j.ctt7zt8z0
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  • Book Info
    African American Females
    Book Description:

    African American Females: Addressing Challenges and Nurturing the Futureillustrates that across education, health, and other areas of social life, opportunities are stratified along gender as well as race lines. The unequal distribution of wealth, power, and privilege between men and women intersects with race and class to create multiple levels of disadvantage. This book is one result of a unique forum intended to bring into focus the K-12 and postsecondary schooling issues and challenges affecting African American girls and women. Focusing on the historical antecedents of African American female participation and the contemporary context of access and opportunity for black girls and women, the contributors to this collection pay particular attention to the interaction of gender with race/ethnicity, class, age, and health, with the central aim of encouraging thoughtful reading, critical thinking, and informed conversations about the necessity of exploring the lives of African American females. Additionally, the book frames important implications for recommended changes in policy and practice regarding a number of critical matters presently affecting African American females in schools and communities across the state of Michigan and nationwide.

    eISBN: 978-1-60917-389-0
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Carol Camp Yeakey

    African American Females: Addressing Challenges and Nurturing the Futureis a volume long overdue. In societies all across the globe, men and women lead very different lives. Gender, defined as the biological traits that are linked to being male or female, is also linked to gender stratification, which is the unequal distribution of wealth, power, and privilege between men and women. Race intersects with both gender and class to create multiple disadvantages. It is at this intersect of race, gender, and class that this text enters. Far too often, the challenges confronting women of color, in general, and African American...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. Part 1. K–12 Educational Experiences of African American Females
    • Trends in Cultural, Social, and Symbolic Capital Post–No Child Left Behind: IMPLICATIONS FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN FEMALE COGNITIVE AND NONCOGNITIVE ACHIEVEMENT IN MICHIGAN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
      (pp. 3-28)
      RoSusan D. Bartee

      Internal and external implications of cultural, social, and symbolic capital influence the microlevel schooling process within the k–12 educational system. The individualized and collective implications associated with these distinct forms of capital affect the manner in which the context of a school culture values certain types of activities, affiliations, and knowledge (Bourdieu, 1984; Coleman, 1988; DiMaggio, 1982; Lareau & McNamara Horvat, 1999; Spillane, Hallett, & Diamond, 2003). Nonetheless, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) uses a macrolevel systematic approach to improve academic measures and foster enhanced educational outcomes for public school constituencies. Academic measures of NCLB equate school...

    • It Can Be Done and It Must Be Done: CREATING EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN GIRLS IN URBAN SCIENCE CLASSROOMS
      (pp. 29-44)
      Robert W. Simmons III

      Recently, I was invited to speak at a Detroit high school that focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). As I spoke with the students during the lecture and when in a classroom, I began to notice a disturbing pattern. The boys seemed very involved, but far too many of the girls seemed distant. When speaking with the girls and school staff about this, it became apparent that no one had ever given this situation any thought. Some noted that the grades of the girls were okay, yet others commented on how many girls went to college.

      As the...

    • The Experiences of Gifted African American Females: “DAMNED IF YOU ARE AND DAMNED IF YOU AREN’T”
      (pp. 45-76)
      Deborah A. Harmon and Donna Y. Ford

      The first author was meeting with her graduate students in preparation for what was to be a highly successful and significant conference about the status of African American females when one of them made a comment that urged her to ask, “Aren’t you attending the conference?” The student, an African American male, responded with, “Well, I guess I have to go because I am helping but … after all, it is about African American females. Why would I go—I’m a male?” I responded with, “Females attended the conference about the status of African American males. Why would males not...

  6. Part 2. Pathway to the Professions:: African American Females on Both Sides of the Desk
    • A Needle in a Haystack: THE SEARCH FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN FEMALE TEACHERS IN K–12 EDUCATION
      (pp. 79-102)
      Shanna L. Graves, Tamara N. Stevenson and Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher

      The k–12 teaching workforce, comprised primarily of White middle-class females, does not mirror the progressively diverse student population in the majority of public schools in the United States. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), during the 2007–2008 school year, there were roughly 3.5 million teachers (NCES, 2010a, 2010b). Of the 3.5 million teachers, 83 percent were White, 7 percent Black, 7 percent Hispanic, and 3 percent other (NCES, 2009).¹ In the same school year, the overall student population was 59.3 percent White, 15.3 percent Black, 19.3 percent Hispanic, 1.4 percent American Indian / Alaskan Native,...

    • Preparing for the Knowledge Society: LESSONS FROM DETROIT’S EARLY AFRICAN AMERICAN FEMALE TEACHERS
      (pp. 103-124)
      Linda G. Williams

      The knowledge society, or postcapitalist society, as described by Drucker (1993), requires new ways to think about education, schooling, and work. As the United States transitions from an industrial culture to a knowledge-based society, the depth of change is felt deeply in industrial cities such as Detroit. Rapid technological and social change, however, is the stuff from which “rust belt” cities such as Detroit are made.

      There is an intersectionality of literacy, identity, and lived experiences relative to pedagogical practices and educational realities (Wissman, 2011). It is the premise of this research that there are lessons to be learned from...

    • Poverty, Postsecondary Education, and Child Care: THE IMPACT OF “WORK FIRST” POLICIES ON AFRICAN AMERICAN SINGLE MOTHERS IN MICHIGAN
      (pp. 125-154)
      Valerie Polakow

      These are the voices of African American mothers in poverty in Michigan—divorced, single, and teen parents. All share in common experiences of harsh inflexible treatment from a welfare system that systematically discourages them from pursuing postsecondary education and, with its “Work First” emphasis, coerces the women to take jobs, no matter how bad the pay or working conditions, in order to receive any benefits. As the women are mothers of young children, their lives are made more complicated by the lack of affordable, high-quality child care, and the inadequate child care subsidies to which they are entitled are frequently...

    • Examining African American Female Students’ Decision to Pursue the Doctorate
      (pp. 155-186)
      Carmen M. McCallum

      African Americans have made great advancements in postsecondary education. Over the last 30 years, enrollment and degree attainment has increased over 65 percent at undergraduate and graduate degree levels (National Center for Education Statistics, 2008). In 1976, barely 111,000 African Americans participated in higher education. Today, over 2.4 million have enrolled or obtained a college degree, and projections indicate that enrollment and degree attainment will continue to increase well into the twenty-first century (NCES, 2008).

      The increase in participation over the last 10 years is partially reflective of the momentous gains African American women have made in pursuing graduate education....

    • It’s My Prerogative: BLACK WOMEN ADMINISTRATORS SHARE THEIR CHALLENGES OF RACE AND GENDER AT PREDOMINATELY WHITE MICHIGAN INSTITUTIONS
      (pp. 187-216)
      Denise O’Neil Green and Ramona Meraz Lewis

      With the passage of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, better known as Proposal 2, in 2006, race-conscious and gender-conscious policies and programs garnered much attention and review because Proposal 2 made such efforts illegal due to their exclusive and preferential practices (Michigan Civil Rights Commission, 2007). Women of color in Michigan, specifically African American women, find themselves in a peculiar situation because neither their race nor gender can be recognized in efforts to improve their status in the state, whether it is in terms of securing government contracts, government jobs, access to selective Michigan institutions, or merit scholarships. However, prior...

  7. Part 3. Social and Cultural Issues Affecting African American Females
    • An Exploratory Study of Social Issues Facing African American High School Female Adolescents in Detroit
      (pp. 219-234)
      Delila Owens, Rhonda M. Bryant and Diana Thomas

      Recent statistics indicate that approximately two-thirds of girls who occupy the juvenile justice system are students of color, primarily African American and Latina adolescent females (American Bar Association and National Bar Association, 2001). In addition, a study conducted by Girls Incorporated (2006) found that ethnic minority young women in grades 9–12 were more likely to report getting into a physical altercation in the last 12 months than their nonethnic minority counterparts: African American (39 percent), Latina (34 percent), and White (22 percent). Based on these statistics, it is important that the educators better understand the schooling experiences of urban...

    • Critical Race Theory and African Womanism: THEORIZING BLACK GIRLS’ EDUCATION AT THE LOCAL AND GLOBAL LEVELS
      (pp. 235-256)
      Venus E. Evans-Winters

      If educational policymakers and critics are truly committed to moving the education of Black girls forward, first we must begin by looking at how the educational conditions of U.S. Black female students are connected to larger economic, social, and political injustices that Black women and girls encounter across the African Diaspora. For example, scholars and practitioners alike must seek to understand more about the beliefs, behaviors, languages, and traditions of Black girls at the local level, while simultaneously, seeking to understand the ways in which cultural knowledge(s) are historically situated and transmitted across contexts and spaces. Most educational theorists continue...

    • Imag[e]ining Hip-Hop Femininity: CONTENTIONS, CONTRADICTIONS, AND CONTRIBUTIONS
      (pp. 257-276)
      Donyale R. Griffin Padgett, Cheryl D. Jenkins and Dale Anderson

      Hip-hop is undoubtedly a pop culture phenomenon. Born in the basement of a housing complex to a man by the name of Clive “Kool Herc” Campbell, hip-hop ultimately ventured away from the streets of New York City and has been influential throughout the globe. In fact, from music and fashion, to literature and language, the impact of hip-hop has gone from being a microcosm of New York’s African American, Afro-Caribbean, and Hispanic communities to a mass-mediated cultural phenomenon that transcends race, class, and geographical boundaries. Torn between consciousness-raising rhetoric and capitalistic gain, hip-hop is becoming one of the most controversial...

  8. Part 4. Psychosocial and Health Matters
    • Legacies of Shame and Blood: INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE AMONG AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN
      (pp. 279-302)
      Devika Dibya Choudhuri

      Intimate partner violence (IPV) is the current term used to describe the incidence of violence in the context of relationship. The term “domestic violence” is seen as a subcomponent of the violence that often rages within a home, where an adult is targeted by a partner. IPV also includes child sexual and physical abuse. Unfortunately, it is all too common. Abbott and coauthors (1995) estimated that 6 percent to 15 percent of women experience domestic violence in a given year, with a lifetime prevalence estimated at 28 percent to 54 percent. While domestic violence affects all Americans, regardless of race,...

    • Self-Definitions of Daily Routines, Parent-Child Interactions, and Crack Cocaine Addiction among African American Mothers
      (pp. 303-324)
      Tierra Bernardine Tivis

      Illegal drug use continues to affect many African American children and their families. A government report indicates that crack cocaine continues to plague most major cities in the United States. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, in 2003, Detroit’s drug-related statistics ranked tenth among 20 cities for crack cocaine-related crimes and treatment admissions. The Office of National Drug Control Policy (2007) reported that in 1997, Wayne County was designated as a high-intensity drug-trafficking area and in 2005, the Detroit Police Department reported 2,963 drug arrests for cocaine. Additionally that year, 325 deaths occurred in Wayne County related to...

    • HIV Prevention Efforts and African American Women: A COMMENTARY FOR FUTURE RESEARCH
      (pp. 325-346)
      Syreeta Scott, Stephen D. Jefferson, Lori Hale and Krupa Hedge

      Infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a major health concern for American women, especially African American women. According to statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), HIV-related illnesses constitute “the leading cause of death for black women … aged 25–34” (CDC, 2008, p. 1), and it is the third and fourth leading cause for these women aged 35–44 and 45–54, respectively. While representing only 12 percent of the total female population of the United States, African American women comprise 64 percent of all female HIV cases in the United States (National Alliance of...

    • African American Women and Cancer
      (pp. 347-366)
      Dia Copeland

      I am not a cancer specialist, but sometimes I think of myself as a cancer detective. Many of my patients are at risk for developing cancer; some are even living with cancer without knowing it. A large part of the work of gastroenterologists is performing colonoscopies. This test allows physicians to examine directly inside the colon to look for precancerous polyps and cancers. Many patients begrudgingly come for the test, at the urgings of their primary care physician. Alternatively, the friend or spouse has told them to get it done, get it over with to encourage them to move forward....

    • Improving General Health Care for African American Women: MICHIGAN AND BEYOND
      (pp. 367-378)
      Phillis Cherie Mims-Gillum

      Historically, African American women have the poorest overall health and health outcomes when compared to other groups of women. Socioeconomic, cultural, racial, and gender barriers severely affect the ability of this population of women to receive process, accept, and incorporate those skills, knowledge, and behaviors necessary to lessen their overall health risks. According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2007, the state of Michigan has the tenth largest Black population. Of the 10 largest cities in the United States, Detroit had the largest proportion of Blacks, 83 percent (Office of Minority Health, 2012). In view of this, it is imperative...

  9. About the Contributors
    (pp. 379-389)