Friday, November 9, 2012
Adams (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
- Motivations for going to college. There was no “average upbringing” among the men in this sample; their family situations and economic backgrounds were diverse, and the time that had elapsed between high school and college ranged from one year to 10 or more. Nevertheless, the men shared common motivations for enrolling in college. Those most frequently cited were to increase their earning power and to be a role model for their children.
- Encounters with prejudice. These men identified low expectations and negative stereotypes based on their race, ethnicity, and gender as salient elements of their experiences in their high schools, communities, and sometimes on their college campuses. While the nature and intensity of these experiences varied across racial and ethnic groups, men in all groups recounted that they had been unfairly judged by their appearance.
- Identities as men of color. Though most of the men initially found their community college to be more welcoming than their high school, they reported negative encounters over time with some faculty and staff. The men explicitly rejected stereotypes based on their race or ethnicity and said that such attitudes did not affect their self-image or behavior. By contrast, norms related to their identity as men — characterized principally by self-reliance — exerted a powerful influence on their ability to engage in college. Whether placing a priority on paid work over school, avoiding making friends on campus, or failing to seek out academic or financial help, these men frequently acted in ways that reinforced their masculine identities, while at times hindering their chances of academic success.