CHAMPAIGN, IL - Family values and peers help secure academic success among African-American and Latino males facing discouraging challenges, a U.S. study says.
Lorenzo DuBois Baber, a professor of higher education at the University of Illinois, conducted a study analyzing barriers that discourage minorities from pursuing higher education, UI reported.
Eleven black and three Latino males in the study, all high school or community college students, said having family members and other adults who nurtured their educational aspirations from an early age, who affirmed education as a family value and a priority, and encouraged their commitment to academic achievement, helped them when they faced racial/gender stereotypes or social relationships that conflicted with their aspirations.
Study participants said the presence of an older male peer in their community who had successfully transitioned from high school to college was particularly motivating and beneficial.
Cultural definitions of masculinity that promote aggression, domination and conflict -- traits not conducive to educational success -- also may hamper African-American and Latino men's educational aspirations, the study said.
Many of the students in the study said they felt pressured to enter the workforce immediately after high school because employment was a cultural marker of manhood.
Fears of being perceived as weak or vulnerable discouraged African-American and Latino male students from seeking help when struggling academically or battling with stress and anxiety, the study found.