The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy

Recognizing the Academic Talents of Young Black Males: A counter-story

Sabrina N. Ross, Alma Stevenson


Majoritarian stories perpetuate deficit perspectives about people of color that support racism and educational inequity (Solorzano & Yosso, 2002). Using theory and methods of critical race counter-storytelling (Baszile, 2015; Solorzano & Yosso, 2002), this article challenges majoritarian educational stories about Black male learners by highlighting examples of Black male academic talent demonstrated during a four-week summer literacy program focusing on culturally relevant curriculum for Black youth. This article illuminates examples of academic talent that were observed in the midst of Black male behavior that is typically categorized as “bad” or unruly. By providing alternative readings of these behaviors and the academic talents of critical thinking, creativity, symbolic thinking, and the linguistic complexity they reveal, our purpose is to call attention to examples of Black male academic talent that are too often rendered invisible when assumptions about these learners are made based on majoritarian stories. 


Black males; counter-storytelling; academic achievement; critical race theory; qualitative research

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