Is a Raceless identity an effective strategy for academic success among blacks?


Journal Article

Objective. Fordham (1988, 1996) notes that because the larger black community has a culture that is oppositional to mainstream U.S. society, blacks who wish to maintain academic success and achieve upward socioeconomic mobility feel pressure to adopt a raceless identity. The purpose of this study is to examine whether a raceless identity leads to better educational outcomes for blacks in high school than does a nonraceless identity.Methods. Using data from the Maryland Adolescence Development In Context Study (MADICS), we create five profiles intended to capture blacks' connection to their race and determine whether racial/ethnic connections among blacks are associated with school achievement, educational aspirations, value attributed to schooling, or detachment from schooling. These links are assessed net of affective feelings about being black and beliefs about shared fate.Results. The findings are not consistent with the racelessness perspective. Specifically, blacks in the race ambivalent and race similar profiles have higher achievement and educational aspirations, and attribute more value to schooling and are less detached from schooling than are those in the race neutral profile.Conclusion. Prior studies have overstated the extent to which racelessness helps achievement. © 2010 by the Southwestern Social Science Association.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Harris, AL; Marsh, K

Published Date

  • December 1, 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 91 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 1242 - 1263

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1540-6237

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0038-4941

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2010.00730.x

Citation Source

  • Scopus