Racial Pride and Academic Achievement

Published on January 14, 2013 | Written by

In honor of Black History Month, every year in February children across the country have the opportunity to learn about contributions from African American writers, political figures, inventors, and more – elements that should be authentically integrated in the classroom throughout the year. I know it’s not the end of January yet but a new study titled “Parental Racial Socialization as a Moderator of the Effects of Racial Discrimination on Educational Success Among African American Adolescents” published in the Journal of Child Development got the staff at Youthprise thinking about the relationship between racial pride and academic, and life, achievement.

The study, by Ming-Te Wang and James P. Huguley links the promotion of racial pride (activities that celebrate a child’s culture and connection to that culture) with the academic success of African American students. With our commitment to partnering with community-based organizations and programming that celebrates Minnesota’s diverse populations of youth, the recognition and celebration of these diverse cultures is something that Youthprise takes very seriously when thinking about the success of Minnesota’s young people.

In an article detailing the study Wang explains, “When African American parents instill a proud, informed, and sober perspective of race in their sons and daughters, these children are more likely to experience increased academic success.”

This February Youthprise and the Cultural Wellness Center are partnering with the African American Leadership Forum, Minneapolis Public Schools Office of Equity and Diversity, Minnesota Blacks in Philanthropy, Legacy Keepers Youth Group, Headwaters Foundation, Brotherhood Inc, St. Paul Public Schools, Minnesota Council on Foundations and a number of community-based organizations to engage youth and highlight the historical legacy and contributions of African Americans in the Twin Cities with a series of events.

Renewing Hope in the Promise of Minnesota’s Youth is an opportunity to commemorate Black History Month and embrace the insight, resourcefulness, and energy of today’s youth, while also tapping into the strengths of African American culture and history. We will bring people together across cultural and generational lines to collectively address how African American cultural strengths and lessons from history can be used to address disparities in opportunities and outcomes for under-engaged youth.

We are excited to announce the keynote speaker for these events is Dr. Joseph L. White, Ph.D., pioneer in the field of Black psychology, perennial voice for youth empowerment, and strong advocate for leadership development among Black and Latino youth. His keynote address is entitled – Discovering, Rediscovering and Utilizing the Strengths of the Past to Take Control of Our Destiny as African American Youth in the 21st Century.

Wang’s study points to the importance of celebrating and instilling a sense of cultural pride in Minnesota’s youth in order to combat racial prejudice and prepare young people for academic and continued success throughout their lives. February’s Black History Month celebrations provide a jumping-off point for this type of learning, but the celebration and engagement with young people of all cultures is something that should be happening year-round.

We will be sharing more information about the events of Renewing Hope soon.


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