The harsh realities of "acting black"
Reid-Brinkley, Shanara Rose
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Public discourse about education reform, particularly that which revolves around the black/white achievement gap, requires the use of race, class, and gender imagery that is intelligible to the general public. This project interrogates the use of social stereotypes in the news media and educational contexts and the resistance to such stereotypes by black youths. To investigate the relationship between racial stereotyping, representation, and identity performance, I utilize ideological criticism as the rhetorical method. I have chosen academic debate, at the high school and college level, as a localized example of social stereotyping in educational contexts. Current efforts within the policy debate community to increase diversity and inclusion offers an opportunity to study the rhetorical strategies engaged in by varying social actors in an educational context. I conclude that negative social stereotyping is embedded in reform efforts targeted at black youths, and that these same students develop diverse methods of performance, specifically through the use of black cultural styles, to combat such stereotyping.