"Putting My Man Face On": Impact of masculinity on African American males in a Texas community college



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African American males are underrepresented in higher education, but for those who enroll in institutions of higher education, most begin the journey by enrolling at a community college. Using a phenomenological design, this study sought to explore the lived experiences of African American male community college students by exploring masculinity and its impact on persistence and academic success at the community college. Five African American male students attending a community college in Texas were interviewed using Seidman’s three-interview process. Each interview followed a semi-structured interview protocol in order to establish dialogue between the participants and the researcher. Interpretive analysis was used to explore experiences of the participants of this study.
Findings produced three themes: (1) perceptions of masculinity influenced by African American identities; (2) masculinity’s impact on education as a pathway and academic success, and (3) factors influencing success. The results illustrate how African American male students are able to overcome obstacles to obtain academic success regardless of ingrained perceptions of masculinity, race and academic challenges. With the increasing numbers of African American males in community colleges, higher education administrators and leaders will have to ensure there are processes where students adapting to the new experiences of college do not feel anxious, frustrated, or inadequate.



Grit, Academic Challenges, Faculty Interaction, Male Interaction, Masculinity, African American Males, Community College, African American Identity, Persistence, Academic Success, African American Male Theory