This critical ethnographic study investigated the outlook of the African American community in New Orleans on inherent resources for supporting the youth of the community in achieving successful educational and personal development under the oppressive conditions that they are subjected to in privatized public schools. The objective was to identify what the community envisioned as protective support for youth against typical disciplinary practices in schools that include physical and psychological abuse, suspensions for minor offenses that set youth en route to prison, and State laws have been enacted to support those practices.
The research was guided by the following questions: What resources are available within the community to support the survival and thriving of African descendant youth who are threatened by State condoned aggression in public schools? What change do parents, students, and members of the community want in public schools? What action do parents, students, and members of the community see as necessary to making that change?
Data was collected through the ethnography methods of participating in residents' everyday lives by attending meetings and community events related to the school situation; observing social action; taking reflective notes; and video recording one-on-one conversations arranged as follow up to conversational exchanges or overheard commentary.
The findings of the study consist of three themes consistently identified as elements necessary to a program of support for African descendant youth's psychological balance, motivation, and self-actualization. The three themes of self-knowledge, self-reflection, and self-reliance were consistent articulated in the outlook data of members of the community. Resistance in action centered on building education institutions founded on African centered values and curriculum, taught by African America teachers. African centered values were viewed as a basis for actualizing self-sufficiency and positive personal development for African descendant youth.
Differences in outlook were found regarding educational institutions best suited to deliver the required support and the corrective value of mainstream politics. Independent African centered schools were seen as necessary to supporting the optimal development of African American youth, and free public education with access by all was seen as needed for educating the masses of African American youth given the financially depressed conditions of African American communities. Participation in mainstream politics as a means of gaining leverage for the community was viewed as highly valuable in some sectors of the community and as less valuable in others.
|Commitee:||Boston, Denise, Ullman, Char|
|School:||California Institute of Integral Studies|
|Department:||Humanities with a concentration in Transformative Learning and Change|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 75/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||African American Studies, Social research, Education|
|Keywords:||Assault, Balance, Louisiana, Protective support, School aggression, Self-knowledge, Self-reflection, Self-reliance, Thriving|
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