Success, transformation, and service
Unkefer, Erin Nicole-Saddler
MetadataShow full item record
Psychological research has often used a deficit model to understand the mental health of Black Americans. Specifically, in social science research Black men have often been portrayed as unmotivated, underachieving and violent (Harper, 2012). This study used a strengths-based approach to explore the lives of successful Black men. The purpose of this study was to investigate successful, post-collegiate Black men’s conceptualization of success through an exploration of transformative moments in their lives. Additionally, the purpose of this study is to understand how participants articulate communalism, or being of service, which is a core, strengths-based value for many in the Black community (Moemeka, 1998). Participants of this study were eleven Black male alumni members of a leadership academy that highly values service and achievement. Narrative inquiry and critical race theory informed the qualitatively constructed dialogues and thematic analysis presented. This study described a variety of people (including mentors, parents/caregivers, peers and public figures) and opportunities (such as attending rigorous schools and extracurricular engagement) that shaped participants’ success. Additionally, participants discussed the importance of communalism in their lives described as being motivated by ancestral history and a sense of responsibility to Black male youth. Implications for Black male mental health and the field of counseling psychology are explored.