Daily Archives: May 11, 2023

Womanism – Andres Perez

Andres Perez

Dr. Miller

African American History



Throughout history, African American women have faced numerous challenges that have deeply impacted their lives. These struggles have ranged from economic hardships, such as navigating the welfare system, to reproductive rights, and societal double standards. Black women have had to navigate systemic racism and sexism in order to obtain basic human rights and achieve equality. Although feminism has played a significant role in the fight for women’s rights, African American women’s unique demands and experiences have not been sufficiently addressed by it. The complex interconnectedness of race, gender, and class that affects the lives of black women, is better addressed within the context of womanism. Despite their efforts to fight for their rights, black women’s voices have often been silenced and their experiences marginalized and womanism fulfills the need for a movement that accurately represents and advocates for their experiences. 

Womanism was created from the necessity of a distinction from feminism. Feminism historically has been the movement women have rallied behind to battle against oppression. However as society progressed and more social issues were confronted it became obvious that feminism did not cater to all women, mainly black women. Womanism is a fairly recent term that started gaining recognition in the late 1900’s, as it was a term used by the famous black female author Alice Walker. Walker brought attention to the concept and this made others realize that the issues that black women faced were far different and more severe than what other women were experiencing. While feminism addressed the issues between gender, it did not address race or class within these gender groups. In order to understand the condition of black women in America, one must first understand their connection with religion. On top of the horrible racism that came out of slavery, black women also had to deal with immense sexual violence from men of all races. Many black women turned to religion as a way to keep pushing through their hardships. Oftentimes the community that a church offered was one of the few things available to these women as a refuge. This sense of community was a place where black women could come together, share their experiences, and find solace in their faith offering a sense of hope for a better future. Given this context, the first place I was ever exposed to womanism was in an African Religion class at the University of San Diego. This class delved into what God meant to different people, especially those so marginalized. For black women their personal relationship with God was a form of resistance against the male dominated religious institutions that have been used to excuse mistreatment against them. 

The book Red Lip Theology by Candace Marie Benbow is a perfect representation of a modern day black women’s perspective on navigating the mentioned struggles. I attended a presentation at the University of San Diego for the authors book tour. Throughout the presentation the author spoke more personally and in depth about the process and inspirations for writing the book which was followed by a question and answer session. Interestingly enough my professor from the mentioned African Religion class also attended the event and as it turns out he is good friends with the author. This was a great experience for me because it allowed me to see how interconnected my journey of education on this topic was. Both the author and my previous professor had taken inspiration from the concepts presented by Alice Walker, mainly from her book The Color Purple, which exemplifies the core meaning of this essay. Alice Walker was also famously quoted as saying “womanism is to feminism, as purple is to lavender”. Walker’s quote can be broken down as lavender being a pale shade of purple, representing the limited scope of feminism that is often exclusive to white women, while purple, on the other hand, represents the colorful and varied viewpoints of womanism. An important aspect of Red Lip Theology was that the author was born to a single mother in a judgmental black parish. The author mentioned that there was a lot of judgment and shame passed on to her family because her mother had a child out of wedlock. However as the author matured she realized the hypocrisy of the situation considering the only person that had to confront the “sin” of having a premarital child was her mother because as a woman you cannot hide the fact you are pregnant. She realized that men in this situation can easily distance themselves and stay hidden unless exposed by the mother. This saves them from taking accountability for their actions as well even though they have an equal part to play in the matter. Ms. Benbow struggled with many societal constructs pushed on her by the church which troubled her relationship with her faith, however much like in The Color Purple, Ms. Benbow was able to build her own personal relationship with God that allowed her to use her faith as something that empowered her rather than something that pushed stigmas on to her. 

It is important to recognize the movements and groups that initially paved the way for black women’s rights in the 1960’s and 70’s. At the time the civil rights movement was in full swing and this finally allowed for more advocacy of black women’s rights. The National Welfare Rights Organization, also known as the NWRO, was an organization mentioned in the book Freedom On My Mind, by Deborah Gray White, Mia Bay, and Waldo E. Martin Jr., which was one of many organizations fighting for black women’s rights at the time. In particular for Black women who experienced systemic discrimination in the welfare system, the NWRO played a key role in the fight for economic justice and civil rights in the United States. The NWRO’s support of welfare rights and the creation of a federal minimum income for all Americans was one of its major achievements. By giving Black women the tools and assistance they needed to fight for their rights, the group was also instrumental in enabling them to become leaders in their communities. The NWRO was important to feminism because it gave Black women a platform to establish their political agency and fight for their rights as both women and members of the underclass. The group’s emphasis on welfare rights was a response to the systematic sexism and racism Black women experienced inside the welfare system, and its work brought attention to the intersectional nature of oppression. Together, the NWRO and Black feminist organizations were successful in enacting key policy reforms, such as the implementation of food stamps and the expansion of Medicaid, that helped to better the lives of low-income women and children. This along with many other movements and groups have been instrumental in giving young black women such as Candice Marie Benbow the opportunity to voice their stories and inspire others which only continues the progression of the womanism movement, which still has much to accomplish.  




Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. New York, Harcourt, 1992.

White, Deborah G., et al. Freedom on My Mind: A History of African Americans, with Documents. Bedford/St. Martins, 2021. 

Benbow, Candice Marie. Red Lip Theology: For Church Girls Who’ve Considered Tithing to the Beauty Supply Store When Sunday Morning Isn’t Enough. Convergent Books, 2022. 


The Effects of Racism on Black Men’s Education-Flynn Fayman

Flynn Fayman

The Effects of Racism on Black Men’s Education

For my event I chose to attend a lecture sponsored by The Inaugural Roy L. Brooks Distinguished Lecture Series. The Lecture was given by Dr. Derrick R. Brooms and was titled “What’s going on? Black men, educational desires, and navigating Hispanic serving institutions . The beginning of the event was reserved for Highlighting the accomplishments of Roy L. Brooks.. The host talked about Roy L. Brooks impressive academic history and also about the contributions he made towards racial equality. After this introduction, Derrick R. Brooms began his lecture on the effects of racism in the educational system and how it is skewed against Black men. At the beginning Dr. Brooms talked about his own personal experience of prejudice living in Chicago, one of the most racially segregated cities in America, and how that affected his personal confidence towards his ability to succeed in academia. He also discussed his personal struggles at college where he felt alone and misunderstood. He then went on to mention the main focus of his research and his unique methods. Dr. Brooms mentioned the need for researchers to treat their subjects like real individuals and build relationships with them and focus on the positive ways to affect the participants instead of fixating on reading their negative reality. Dr. Brooms mentioned how African American boys and men are facing an uphill battle when it comes to successes in academia. One of the main reasons why African-Americans struggle so much in academia is because of the other pressures affecting their lives. These pressures are numerous and include the following: poverty, negative portrayals in the media, the presence of crime, especially gang crime, the pressure from the community to stay in the neighborhood and stay connected, and of course the struggle of surviving in a racially prejudiced country.
Dr. Brooms’ solution to these problems is to try to create a better community of support to African Americans in academia, specifically African-American boys. He mentioned a need for a campus geography,or overarching system of support. This geography includes,representation ,relationships,campus culture, connections across campus spaces, holistic care, belonging and mattering. He also mentioned the need to stop comparing Black men and individuals to white men and individuals due to the difference in burden that the Black individuals face. To illustrate the need for a more systemic and diverse support system for Black men, he shared the story of an interaction he had with a research participant, a Black college student who talked about his GPA, which was roughly a C. The student said that simply surviving was good enough for him considering all the forces working against his successes. He ended his lecture with hope that through African American peer support that Black men could find greater success in academia.
Dr. Brooms’ lecture was a reminder that whenever the general population is experiencing hardships, the African- American community suffers even more. The book Freedom on my Mind mentions that during the Great Depression while everyone was negatively affected, African Americans were affected far worse than they’re white peers. In major northern cities the average unemployment rate for African Americans was around 50% compared to 31% for white Americans in those same cities(5)(7). Even after actions were taken by Roosevelt and his administration to lessen the burden of the depression on Americans through the The New Deal programs, African Americans did not receive the same relief as white Americans did. As Freedom on my Mind states, “The New Deal did not help all Americans equally, however. The racial discrimination that permeated America permeated New Deal programs as well. Some called the New Deal a “raw deal” for African Americans.”(pg 721). The New Deal failed to supply African Americans with much needed aid. For instance when programs were administered locally, especially in the South, there was a discrepancy between benefits that whites and Blacks received with Blacks receiving less(5).
An issue facing developing countries right now is a large disparity between the academic success of boys and girls. There is a 10% difference between the amount of women who have bachelor’s degrees and the amount of men who have bachelor’s degrees. Like most issues this academic gap is even larger among Black men and Black women(6). The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education notes “At 24 of the 26 universities in our survey, the gender gap among Black students is greater than the gender gap that exists among white students.” (1). There are many different theories behind the reason for the gap in education between men and women. One theory cites the differences between brain development between boys and girls(3). Whatever the reason it is apparent that the problem is worse among African Americans. The reason behind these heightened gender gap among African AMericans is due to racial bias associated with Black men as pointed out by Dr. Brooms.
Black men have been depicted routinely throughout history as savage animals who have little control over their immense physical power(4). This depiction which was created by a white racial majority served an economic purpose(4). By depicting African-Americans as uncontrolled beasts, slave holders were able to justify their enslavement and subjugation of Blacks(4). This depiction, however, did not end after the emancipation of slaves(4). Today African Americans are commonly depicted as criminals(4). For example, Dr Brooms brought up the Trayvon Martin case where a Black teenager was stopped by a security guard named George Zimmerman(8). Trayvon Martin lived in the community that George Zimmerman was guarding and George Zimmerman attempted to detain Trayvon Martin which he had no legal right to do(8). After Trayvon Martin resisted detainment, George Zimmerman shot and killed him. Dr. Brooms brought up the common media depiction of the two individuals. Showing an example of George Zimmerman’s simple mugshot with no defining features, compared to a photo of Trayvon Martin with two middle fingers and a shirt off which clearly tries to depict him as a criminal force compared to George Zimmerman. It is no wonder then that so many Black men feel as if the world is against them and have difficulty feeling confident in their academic ability as Dr Broom’s points out. Thesenegative and biased depictions of Black men help explain why the academic gender gap is wider in the black community. As with the Great Depression while there might be a larger societal woe that is affecting everyone including Black individuals,the racial bias means that Blacks experience this effect worse.
A solution to issues facing Black men in academia brought up by Dr. Brooms is to give greater support to African American men by giving them peers who they can talk to. The practice of relying on each other’s Black peers was common during the Great Depression. As noted in Freedom on My Mind “African Americans relied on their core values — their deep commitment to family, kin, friends, neighbors, communities, and religion — to survive the Great Depression.”(725). The book mentions that in many Black communities individuals share clothing and provide food for their more needy brethren(5). Independent Black churches also provided spiritual guidance and essentials such as food during this time of financial and mental stress(5). Dr. Brooms points out that at this time Black men need mental support and encouragement from their black peers and from the academic institutions they’re attending. As mentioned before, he proposes creating a geography of support on college campuses which will help provide much needed emotional and mental support to Black male students who are struggling to succeed in academia.
In conclusion, it is evident that while the struggle between men and women in terms of their ability to succeed in academia is a prominent social issue that is affecting all ethnicities, it appears to be affecting the African-American community in a disproportionate way. This is not unique to African-American history as many prominent social and economic issues that affected all ethnicities always seem to affect the African American community worse. During these times and to cope with the disparity they face, the Black community has sought refuge in each other in order to survive. Dr. Brooms has hope that Black men can gain greater confidence in their ability to succeed and overcome the overwhelming adversity facing them by relying on the support of fellow Black peers and building a community of support.
Work Cited
“Black Women Students Far Outnumber Black Men at the Nation’s Highest-Ranked Universities.” Black women students far outnumber black men at the nation’s highest-ranked universities, 2006. https://www.jbhe.com/news_views/51_gendergap_universities.html.
Jr., Marshall Anthony, Andrew Howard Nichols, and Wil Del Pilar. “Raising Undergraduate Degree Attainment among Black Women and Men Takes on New Urgency amid the Pandemic.” The Education Trust, December 21, 2021. https://edtrust.org/resource/national-and-state-degree-attainment-for-black-women-and-men/#:~:text=Slightly%20more%20than%20half%20of,gap%20of%2018%20percentage%20points.
Male inequality, explained by an expert. YouTube. YouTube, 2023. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBG1Wgg32Ok.
Allen, Quaylan, and Henry Santos Metcalf. “‘Up to No Good’: The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Fear of Black Men in US Society.” In Historicizing Fear: Ignorance, Vilification, and Othering, edited by Travis D. Boyce and Winsome M. Chunnu, 19–34. University Press of Colorado, 2019. http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctvwh8d12.4.
White, Deborah G., Mia Bay, and Waldo E. Martin. Freedom on my mind: A history of African Americans, with documents. BibliU. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2021.
Parker, Kim. “What’s behind the Growing Gap between Men and Women in College Completion?” Pew Research Center, November 8, 2021. https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2021/11/08/whats-behind-the-growing-gap-between-men-and-women-in-college-completion/.
“Unit 11 1930s: The Great Depression.” New Jersey State Library, March 29, 2021. https://www.njstatelib.org/research_library/new_jersey_resources/highlights/african_american_history_curriculum/unit_11_great_depression/#:~:text=Throughout%20this%20economic%20crisis%20unemployment,and%2052%20percent%20for%20blacks.
“Trayvon Martin Shooting Fast Facts.” CNN, February 15, 2023. https://www.cnn.com/2013/06/05/us/trayvon-martin-shooting-fast-facts/index.html

A Reflection on Black Womanhood Throughout History – Megan Underbrink

A Reflection on Black Womanhood Throughout History

Red Lip Theology Author Candice Mary Benbow Engages, Inspires - University of San Diego

Throughout my time learning about African American History in America, I have had the opportunity to deeply explore the area surrounding the history of black women, specifically black women in Christianity. I was graciously able to attend a talk led by author Candice Marie Benbow about her book, Red Lip Theology, in which I learned on a personal level about black Christian womanhood in today’s society. In addition to this, I was able to learn about the history of this topic through our text, Freedom On My Mind, as well as the novels We are Your Sisters, written by Dorothy Sterling and The Cross and the Lynching Tree, written by James H. Cone. I have come to the conclusion through these resources that there is power in black Christian womanhood which extends back through history and has become a source of unwavering community, empathetic understanding, and compassionate love for black women today. 

To give a brief introduction to our speaker, Candice Marie Benbow is a multi-generational theologian whose main focuses include black beauty, faith, feminism, and culture. Benbow says that “faith can be a tool of liberation and transformation for women and girls.” She also shared with us a piece of advice that her mother gave her: “Have a library card and a voter registration card because then you can change your life and the lives of those around you.”

Women, especially black women, are often left out of conversations regarding faith and leadership in the church. They are seldom mentioned and even more seldom honored. This is quite surprising as black women are the most spiritual demographic in the United States. James Cone shares that “every black male minister knows that he would have no church without the women who make up more than 80 percent of the membership” (Cone, 143).

Christianity made its debut in the African American community during the time of slavery, in the early 1800’s. While slave owners encouraged their enslaved people to adopt the religion of Christianity, the black community decided to do so in their own way. They created Invisible Churches in which they “stressed the equality of all men under God, drawing on the Bible as inspiration for spirituals that expressed slaves’ own humanity, capacity for freedom, and hope of justice for an oppressed people” (Freedom On My Mind: “Slave Religion”, 369). As these churches developed into the later 1800’s,  “men dominated church leadership, but women constituted most of the members and regular attendees and did most of what was called church work. Women gave and raised money, taught Sunday school, ran women’s auxiliaries, welcomed visitors, and led social welfare programs for the needy, sick, and elderly.” (Freedom On My Mind: “Church and Community,” 529). 

These practices hold true into modern times. People don’t know black women of faith and they have often been pushed out of the discourse of what it means to create spiritually thriving communities. Black women are resilient: Sterling shares that her “white neighbors, caught up in the feminine mystique, were decorating cakes and hooking rugs to conceal their longing for meaningful occupations, while these black women were juggling work, family, and community responsibilities with extraordinary grace and self-possession.” Black women have been faced with immense responsibility, yet have handled it with elegance. In the church, “women formed organizations where they were leaders.” In the public, “While men talked, women walked and got things done. Although the civil rights movement was headed primarily by male leaders…, there never would have been a black freedom movement without the courageous work of  women” (Cone, 173-174).

Beginning by giving a background into her childhood, Benbow told us all how she was raised in the church by a mother who gave birth to her out of wedlock. Her mother was expected to go up in front of the church and apologize for this sin, but she refused to do so. Her mother believed that it was necessary to push against sexist notions to apologize because her sin was visible. The father was not expected to apologize although he committed the same sin.  For centuries, black women have been seen as “belonging to the ‘inferior’ sex of an ‘inferior’ race” (Sterling, xiii). As a black woman, Benbow’s mom showed her that she can push against the social norms and did not have to live as an inferior group although characterized that way. 

Another of the sexist notions imposed upon black Christian women is that they are expected to be prim and proper. However, Benbow loved the “hip hop” type culture and enjoyed listening and dancing to this music. In antislavery societies during the slavery times, “no one’s curtains were as starched, gloves as white, or behavior as correct as black women’s” (Sterling, xvii). To be a black woman in the church is similar. These women are expected to be perfect representations of “what a woman should be,” when they are really just humans with interests and hobbies and imperfections. 

Benbow had a fire behind her and a curiosity to learn everything, but often the questions that she wanted to ask did not fit into this proper standard that was placed on black women by the church. However, her mother did not want the church to restrain her from exploring and learning all that she had questions about. Rather than placing a restriction on her daughter, her mother would make her write her questions down before asking them in public and if they were not appropriate for the situation, she would answer it later in private. The way that Benbow’s mother encouraged exploration rather than forcing her daughter to conform to the expectations of black women in the church seems to be one of the things that created confidence and high spirit in her daughter. Benbow reveals that she came to this work of being an author and sharing her stories because of a mother who gave her the space to ask questions. 

“There is something powerful about black womanhood,” Benbow says. For many years, black women have bore a heavy weight in society and have had to wear a mask. Benbow says that Red Lip Theology is about the moment when the mask came off for her and she realized that she had a community of women who loved her and could really feel her. The book is Benbow’s truth about women who deeply love God and are deeply faithful. Sterling reflects on her relationship with black women in her life when she says: “I had always accepted the liberal shibboleth of the day: black women were just like whites, except that their skins were darker. Later I realized that this was untrue. The strengths and skills that black women were forced to develop had been transmitted to their descendants. My black friends were different because their history and culture were different” (Sterling, xix). Black women have a strong faith because of their history and culture. 

Benbow addresses those who are non-black and consider themselves to be allies. She encourages people to seriously interrogate their faith systems and to reflect on what they believe and why. What people believe for themselves should leave room for others to be their freest selves, not restrict them to fitting into a mold made by those who have oppressed them. “While white women were hampered by the bonds of ‘true womanhood’ and told that their sphere was the home, the black woman was enslaved” (Sterling, xiv). This is true in a literal and metaphorical sense. During the times of slavery, white women were working in the home while black women were enslaved. Now, white women have their place in society whether it is in their homes or in the workplace, but black women still have a stigma that enslaves them. 

To end her talk, Benbow says that we owe it to the future generations to keep making demands of our faith and our god and our church, to keep asking questions, and to keep journeying to hard answers.

One question that really stood out to me after Benbow finished her talk was about when she prays and how she addresses God. Benbow said that she removes pronouns for God for restored faith because “he/him” or “she/her” is too common for God. This to me is a profound display of faith because it shows that Benbow’s conception of God is greater than the human sphere. She says that tears are prayers and a laugh is the most beautiful form of prayer in a moment. This has stuck with me since the talk. Benbow’s display of faith has affirmed to me the claim that she made earlier, that black women are amongst the most faithful demographic in America.

This program is significant to our understanding of African American History because it shows the amazing faith of the black community and helped us to dive deep into the struggles and successes of black women. Through this talk, I learned about the extensive sense of community that resides between black women that resulted from their history and their roots. As Benbow preaches: “Quest for knowledge is its own reward.”


Works Cited

Benbow, Candice Marie. Lecture on her book, Red Lip Theology. February 27, 2023.

Cone, James H. The Cross and the Lynching Tree. Orbis Books, 2022. 

Sterling, Dorothy. “Introduction.” We Are Your Sisters, W.W. Norton, New York, New York, 1984, pp. ix-xix. 

White, Deborah G., et al. Freedom on My Mind: A History of African Americans, with Documents. Bedford/St. Martins, 2021. 


The Struggles Black Men Face in Education – Mikaela Tucker

Black History at USD – The Struggles Black Men Face in Education

El-Ra Adair Radney

Mikaela Tucker

Throughout American history, we’ve seen how the education system favors certain groups of people and fails others. At the start of public education in the United States, it catered to wealthy White families who had male children. The kids privileged enough to get an education were often White boys because it was seen as not a necessary thing for girls to have an education. Later on White girls were allowed the same opportunities as White boys but were treated differently in the classroom setting, such as being expected to behave “properly” and “polite” while their male counterparts were not expected to do the same things. Black children were much later allowed to gain an education in the same schools as White children but the marginalization continued. “The desegregation of schools,…, fell squarely on the shoulders of girls” who faced violence, threats, and continuous harassment (White, Ch. 14). When Black boys were introduced to the public education system, they didn’t face the same challenges as their female counterparts but faced their own set of challenges and struggles. They were looked down upon and not expected to thrive or want to do well, and this is exactly what Dr. Brooms talked about experiencing. Dr. Derrick Brooms (pictured on the top right) is a professor of African American Studies, Women’s History, Africana Studies and Sociology at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Brooms grew up on the south side of Chicago and says that this shaped his view of the world because the neighborhood he grew up in was a hyper segregated community putting him on a trajectory that he couldn’t necessarily control. While trying to find his own sense of identity and understand his own life he found the answers in Africana Studies. Dr. Brooms believes that there isn’t a homogeneous Black community and wants to use his own background and studies to take away the comparison of Black and White education. He faced so much adversity through his educational years due to his identity as a Black man and wants to put an end to the disparities in education based on gender and race. There were, and still are, preconceived notions that young Black men don’t care about their education. Society didn’t give young Black men a fighting chance in education and there are structures in place that continue to set them up for failure and little is being done to address this issue. Equal opportunities and fair treatment of Black men in education is a continuous fight to break the cycle of society continuing to fail young Black men in the education system due to harmful stereotypes placed on them dating back to the very beginning of this country and in order to accomplish such, two major things need to be addressed; proper scholarship opportunities and opportunities to seek help.

Scholarships for college education often have a minimum grade point average that needs to be maintained in order to keep the scholarship. They also tend to not cover all of the students’ costs in order to attend college. With these terms and conditions surrounding scholarships, students who cannot pay the difference out of pocket are digging themselves into a hole that they may never get out of. In today’s society it is often required to have a college education from a respectable college in order to get a well paying job. In order to get said education, you typically have to shell out tens of thousands of dollars which the average person cannot do without the help of student loans. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, 77% of Black students attending a university took out loans in order to pay for their schooling compared to the 54% of White students who took out loans. This statistic shows the disparities between Black and White college students and how the lack of scholarship disproportionately affects Black students. Dr. Brooms stated that he believes a federal solution is needed in order to combat the inevitable debt that Black students are going to put themselves in in order to receive a college education. He proposed that this federal solution could come from lower interest rates and increasing the number of federal grants available as opposed to loans. There is another struggle with scholarships that Dr. Brooms addresses and that is how it is difficult for Black male students to maintain the set grade point average due to a plethora of things that White students don’t inherently face. He says that there “is a lot to prove being a Black man on a university campus” and the weight can feel crushing. Dr. Brooms spoke from his own experience with how he faced a lack of encouragement from his professors and was even told he was going to fail. He said “[he] was only praised for his athletic achievements” rather than his educational ones. When you aren’t being supported by professors, peers, etc. it is hard to get the proper help to thrive in class. Now although a set standard is necessary for receiving and maintaining a scholarship, there needs to be a way to do so that will allow all students to benefit from it. 

Being in college, you cannot be afraid to ask for help. In order to succeed in your studies you have to ask questions, be willing to be wrong, and seek out your professors for additional help. This tends to be easy for some and very difficult for others. When you are conditioned to never ask for help and to never be vulnerable, these things are going to be hard. Society has created a dynamic between men and women that men are not allowed to be “emotional” or “vulnerable” because it is weak, and that women are “too emotional” or “too vulnerable”. This harmful dynamic causes internalization that men cannot ask for help because it is seen as being vulnerable and this causes a “I can do it myself” mentality. This mentality sets you up for failure in a college environment because you truly cannot do it yourself. According to a study done by John Ogbu, Black students tend to underperform, in comparison to their White counterparts, due to “national and local mainstream white society”, meaning perceived notions of how Black students will perform, and beliefs and behaviors from within the Black community itself (Ogbu, Ch. 1). This goes along with what Dr. Brooms had indicated, saying that “young Black men are socialized to not ask for help” and that “[their] vulnerability can be weaponized against [them]”. Within the Black community, parents and other custodial figures are implementing ideas that can subconsciously cause failure in school. When something is so engraved into you, it becomes difficult to reverse those ideas. Young Black men cannot be expected to reverse generational beliefs on their own. In order to reverse this mentality Dr. Brooms suggests that professors need to create a safe space where students can get to know each other and the professor. By doing this, you are allowing the students to make connections with their peers and you are allowing them to see it is okay to let people know you for you. If you allow people to open up during a set time it doesn’t create an added pressure of having to be the one to reach out. The student can realize that you are willing to make an effort so they should too. By creating an environment where all students feel like they can get the help they need, it will allow them to succeed in their college careers. 

Creating methods that will allow for the success of Black men in the educational system is vital to the disruption of stereotypes that have been in place in our society for decades. Understanding history is understanding how what happened in the past led society to where it stands today. With acknowledgement and understanding of Dr. Brooms’ lecture, the text Freedom on My Mind and Black American Students in an Affluent Suburb, we can understand how the history of African Americans led to the current struggles Black men face in education. 

Works Cited (MLA 9)

In Class Source: White, Deborah G., et al. Freedom on My Mind: A History of African Americans, with Documents. Bedford/St. Martins, 2021. 

External Sources: Ogbu, John U. Black American Students in an Affluent Suburb: A Study of Academic Disengagement. Routledge, 2009. 

“Indicator 22: Financial Aid.” National Center for Educational Statistics, Feb. 2019, nces.ed.gov