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Book The Color of Success: Race And High-achieving Urban Youth

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The Color of Success: Race And High-achieving Urban Youth

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Color of Success: Race And High-achieving Urban Youth.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Gilberto Q. Conchas(Author),Pedro A. Noguera(Foreword)

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Through students' own voices and perspectives, this book reveals how and why some racial minorities achieve academic success, despite limited opportunity. Based on the experiences of Black, Latino, and Vietnamese urban high school students, the author provides a revealing comparative analysis that offers insight into how schools can create opportunities and safe learning environments where youth acquire real goals, expectations, and tangible pathways for success.

"This small book is packed with observations that deserve serious attention in the public arena." Gilberto Q. Conchas is a faculty member in the Department of Education, Chicano/Latino Studies, and Sociology at the University of California, Irvine.

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Review Text

  • By Jeffery Mingo on April 29, 2014

    I'm not surprised to see that amazing scholar (and Brown University alumnus) Dr. Pedro Noguera wrote an introduction to this book. In his own writings, he's asked, "Lots of research suggests that minority students perform in schools worse than whites generally, but how do successful minority students accomplish what they have?" This book tries to ask and answer that. Even though the term "person of color" is thrown around by many, most books on this population usually just discuss one or two groups. This book has a chapter on African Americans, Latinos, and Vietnamese Americans, thus breaking that trend.I need to reference a book that kept entering my mind while reading this. I believe there's a book called "Acting White" in which a scholar compares and contrasts Black students from Howard University, a mostly Black school, to Northwestern, a mostly white one. This Black scholar assumed that Black students faced only two routes: attend a majority-Black school or be a small, almost invisible presence at a white school (as she did). However, her research broke that duality. She learned that Northwestern had a Black society within its campus. At this majority-white school, there were Black students who could join Black clubs and fraternities, take African-American Studies classes, and just live a very Black experience at a white institution.This book showed a duality being broken. The school analyzed by the scholar did have a general population that was majority Black and Latino and not well served and it did have an Advance Placement route that was majority Asian and white. However, between the two, there was a Medical Academy whose entrance was not based solely on grades or rank. It gave Blacks and Latinos more options for rigorous learning that didn't depend on them being Honor Society material from jump. I got the sense that because these students felt that they were being offered something special, they studied harder there as a sign of gratitude. That's the gem I pulled from this book: if schools offer programs that feel extraordinary, then even midrange students respond positively to them.This book is not all positive observances. The author did note that several working-class, Black males performing well in school still only wanted to be NBA players when they became adults. He observed some Latino students who suggested they dropped their ethnic identity and rarely associated with other Latinos as they strived to get good grades. Moreover, the book suggests that Black students felt strongly that most teachers favored Asian students over them. The assumptions that Asian were good students and Black and Latino counterparts were not did raise their heads several times.Here's my biggest problem. While I applaud the author for his study, I didn't get the sense that it was necessarily replicable. I didn't leave thinking, "Okay, here are the five things that Black and Latino students can do if they want to perform well in high school." This is not a book that principals at heavily minority schools could just use as a blueprint and raise the grades of many students of color. Thus, I was left scratching my head and asking, "Okay, so what was it that I was meant to learn here?" I don't think I could hand this to an entering high school student and say, "Here. Read this, follow it, and you will do well in high school." Some of my concerns may be larger than the scope of the book, but if you read this, you may also be asking yourself the same thing. You may ask yourself, "Alright, I just saw many symptoms in this book, but what is the cure again?"

  • By Lisa Buchanan on February 3, 2009

    The Color of Success is a refreshing and engaging look at successful students of color. Conchas strives to adequately portray the successes of urban school students who nagivated public schools through the support of social capital and career academies within their schools. An excellent tool for understanding social capital for high school students as well as a glimpse of the structure of career academies. Very well written.


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