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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership for Diverse Learning Communities




School of Education and Human Services


Black girls in predominantly White educational institutions (PWIs) are often viewed as less than or categorized as aggressive by their White teachers and peers, and such negative attitudes can lead to sub-par academic outcomes and low self-esteem. My study endeavored to understand the lived experiences of 10 Black adolescent girls ages 13-19 who have attended private PWIs in Nassau County, NY. Using a narrative inquiry approach, I conducted semi-structured interviews, educational mapping exercises, and focus groups to collect data on the girls' academic journey. The findings revealed that Black girls in PWI believe that school culture and structures matter, and these educational systems must create spaces where there is a racially diversified student body and teaching staff. Moreover, the participants described that they were not routinely heard, seen, and protected by their White teachers. To dismantle these negative interactions, the girls believed that White teachers need to eliminate the biases they have regarding Black girls and instead form relationships and connections with them. The girls also spoke about the pressure when they were younger to mirror the White standard of beauty and demeanor and fit in with their primarily White peers. At the same time, they advocated for other Black girls to take back their agency and never diminish their voices in PWI. Black girls should be emboldened to live their truth. These findings led me to develop a framework of critical Black feminist care, which is crucial in creating a sense of safety, belonging, and homeplace for Black adolescent girls to thrive in PWI.

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