All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Peter Verbeek

Advisory Committee Members

Douglas Fry

Dereef Jamison

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


Perceptions of African American youth have been illustrated by how they are perceived on television: as deviants, criminals and unteachable. These perceptions are also illustrated in the behaviors of teachers in both inner-city and suburban schools. African American teachers in the inner-city schools have hope of changing the world for the better until they are met with difficult challenges presented by African-American students. Some students are excellent and some not so excellent. The structural environment of African-American youth can so strongly influence their behavior, that they begin to take on their perceptions. This can be seen in their choice friends, their dispositions, and their style of clothing. Teachers perceive the youth from their environment as always causing trouble and not wanting better for themselves. The confidence of teachers may be negatively impacted and the hope of changing the world may no longer vibrantly exist. Because of this, some African American teachers will treat students the way society perceives them, and not look past what is seen. Unlike the inner-city, the suburban teachers are already aware of the type of youth they will teach youth whose parents are active members of associations, the school, and present at most extra-curricular activities. Their structural environment has a different impact on their behavior because students are aware and better prepared for “real world” challenges and success in higher institutions of learning. African American youth that attend suburban schools do not exhibit many discipline problems like those exhibited in the inner-city schools. This article seeks to spotlight misconceptions by African American teachers’ perceptions concerning African American youth. Because perceptions are just perceptions, it does not give a teacher the right to assume that the African American youth will act or continue to act in a manner that is portrayed as negative. African American youth have a tremendous amount of stress to deal with. Having to deal with issues within their race is not something that youth are prepared for. Using the subcategories of centrality and nationality of MIBI Model, the researcher will hypothesize that teachers’ answers will not reflect how they really feel about African American youth.



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