American African men share their perceptions of elementary literacy instruction and the achievement of American African males
Jai, Sabreen U.
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In America, failure and African men are dialogically linked as an inevitable occurrence. This culture of failure could possibly be instigated and perpetuated through the very institution that is designed to prevent societal failure and nurture embryonic academic and social success, our nation’s schools. For the vast majority of African males, this house of preparation has yielded a disproportionate return of failure. While the academic failure of American African males (AAMs) has elicited volumes of qualitative academic studies, the voices of the purported failing population, American African fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, and others have been absent from the academic conversation. The purpose of my study is to provide an audience for the truant voices (Hunter & Davis, 1994) of non-academic AAMs and their perceptions of educational success or failure of their own sons or social sons (Rukmalie J., 2002). Heretofore, the voices of non-academic AAMs have been unexamined as potential resources in addressing the undaunted achievement gap. It is my goal to provide teachers, counselors, and researchers with a seminal component, indeed a vital link in the failure of American education to effectively serve and service the systematically neglected population of AAMs. I argue that the pervasive allegations of illiteracy and the academic achievement gap are merely symptoms of a greater problem that has yet to be fully acknowledged and addressed in America. That problem is race, racism, and the eternal harboring of Eurocentric social, economic, cultural, and educational male-dominated hegemony. I, therefore, suggest that a more accurate description of the so-called achievement gap is achievement trap and that the knowledge that is assessed is not self-value-building for the descendants of the Africans brought to America as slaves. While AAMs may be gapped in their achievement of assimilation in Eurocentric educational values, they are invariably simultaneously trapped in a seemingly permanent discourse of academic inadequacy, intellectual illiteracy, and un-achievement.