Stereotypes often create threatening environments for Black males on college campuses. This study sought to break the deficit narrative surrounding Black males in college by highlighting how they persisted despite facing stereotypes. Six participants were included in this study. Through interviews and naturalistic observations, we explored how participants articulated their experiences with stereotypes, how they dealt with those experiences, how the experiences shaped future endeavors, and how they used strategies to dispel stereotypes and persist through threatening experiences. Findings suggest (a) the participants dealt with internalized feelings due to stereotypes; (b) stereotypes were reinforced in various ways; and, (c) they persisted despite stereotypes by confronting, ignoring, and dispelling stereotypes, as well as alleviating pressures associated with stereotypes. In addition, the participants offered advice for other Black males as they matriculated through college. The paper closes with a discussion, which includes implications for practice and future research.


Black Males, College, Persistence, Phenomenology, Stereotype Threat, Stereotypes

Author Bio(s)

Taylor Benjamin Hardy Boyd is a graduate of the M.Ed. in Higher Education program at Grand Valley State University. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: taylor1ram@yahoo.com.

Donald Mitchell, Jr., is professor of higher education leadership in the Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education at Bellarmine University in Louisville. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: dmitchell2@bellarmine.edu.


Research reported in this publication was supported by The Graduate School at Grand Valley State University. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not represent the views of The Graduate School at Grand Valley State University.

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