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Swimming Upstream: Black Males in Adult Education: New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, Number 144

Swimming Upstream: Black Males in Adult Education: New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, Number 144



Here is an introduction to salient topics and issues affecting Black males as they engage in adult basic education programs, pursue employment, and obtain higher education. The chapters include academic research as well as program descriptions and personal narratives with a concern for the “lived experiences” and the voices of the men.

While not exhaustive, this volumne does hope to challenge commonly held stereotypes, interactions, and policies. It is designed to raise questions about the unique experiences of this specific population and to explore the sociocultural dynamics that impact their education.

This is the 144th volume of the Jossey Bass series New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education. Noted for its depth of coverage, it explores issues of common interest to instructors, administrators, counselors, and policymakers in a broad range of education settings, such as colleges and universities, extension programs, businesses, libraries, and museums.

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Dionne Rosser-Mims, Joni Schwartz, Brendaly Drayton, Talmadge C. Guy

1. Race, the Black Male, and Heterogeneous Racisms in Education 5
Juanita Johnson-Bailey, Nichole Ray, Tennille Lasker-Scott

This chapter explores the effects of historical and current racism on the educational experiences of American Black males. The authors use critical race theory to illustrate how assumptions about culture and gender have subverted the egalitarian ideals of adult education. Teachers and students are urged to use critical reflection and open discussion about racial issues.

2. The (End)angered Black Male Swimming Against the Current 15
Talmadge C. Guy

This chapter discusses the sociohistorical and deeply embedded myths and stereotypes that have dominated narratives about Black men and how these shape the educational and professional experiences of Black men.

3. The Good Provider: Missing or Overlooked? 27
Brendaly Drayton

This chapter explores Black men’s reasons for participating in an adult basic education and literacy program through the lens of gender identity.

4. High School Equivalency as Counter-Space 37
Joni Schwartz

This chapter is based on the findings of an ethnographic study of an urban General Education Development (GED®) program and suggests that, for some marginalized African American and other young men of color, adult education programs are counter-spaces (Yosso, Ceja, Smith, & Solorzano, 2009) of spatial justice in opposition to previous negative school spaces. The chapter is framed from the perspective of critical race theory.

5. A New Normal: Young Men of Color, Trauma, and Engagement in Learning 49
Carlyle Van Thompson, Paul J. Schwartz

This chapter will center on the continuing impact of systemic and persistent educational trauma experienced by Black and Latino males and how trauma affects their current learning. The young men’s counterstories from a phenomenological study and documentary are included.

6. The Reentry Adult College Student: An Exploration of the Black Male Experience 59
Dionne Rosser-Mims, Glenn A. Palmer, Pamela Harroff

This chapter shares findings from a qualitative study on reentry adult Black males’ postsecondary education experiences and identifies strategies to help this population matriculate through college and graduate.

7. Returning to School After Incarceration: Policy, Prisoners, and the Classroom 69
Brian Miller, Joserichsen Mondesir, Timothy Stater, Joni Schwartz

This chapter addresses the challenges facing men of color who return to adult education after incarceration. It frames their experience as a war from a sociopolitical and cultural context, and then explains the support men need to succeed both in and outside the classroom.

8. Empty Promise: Black American Veterans and the New GI Bill 79
Alford H. Ottley

The 2008 GI Bill offers college funds for veterans. Yet Black male vets are not taking advantage of these benefits. This chapter examines personal and societal problems that hinder access to higher education for Black vets, and suggests some ways adult educators can advocate for these young men.

9. Black Males and Adult Education: A Call to Action 89
Brendaly Drayton, Dionne Rosser-Mims, Joni Schwartz, Talmadge C. Guy

In this concluding chapter, the editors offer their reflections on the key themes of this volume and implications for future research and practitioners of adult education.