Term of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 1

Daniel Chapman

Committee Member 2

Meca Williams-Johnson

Committee Member 3

Michelle Reidel

Committee Member 4

Derrick Tennial

Abstract

This is an inquiry into the oral histories of four black homosexual male graduates' experience of schooling in the Butler High School in Augusta, Georgia. Adrian Harris, Marlon Pugh, Horace Lovett, and Michael Robinson, four participants of my dissertation inquiry, narrate their successful stories of completing high school while experiencing the intersectionality of their identities: black homosexual, and male in the U.S. South. Drawing upon the Critical Race Theory of Derrick Bell (1992), Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic (2001), Mari Matsuda, Charles Lawrence, Richard Delgado, Kimberle Crenshaw (1995), Gloria Ladson-Billings and William Tate (1995), I examine the challenges and obstacles that my participants face as they navigate their ways through high school while living the complex and contested identities as a black gay male in the South. Methodologically, I draw upon the oral history work of Cynthia Stokes Brown (1988), Patricia Leavy (2011), and Donald Ritchie (2003) to capture and archive the authentic voices of my participants in order to construct meaning from their experiences. It is my contention that the culture of southern schools perpetuates white patriarchal heteronormative values and mores. The intersected identities of the black homosexual male are in direct opposition to the accepted cultural values of his school context. School rituals and clubs, which serve as sites of reproduction for the accepted value systems, do not attract or welcome black gay males because their identities (McCready, 2004, McCready 2010, Pascoe 2007). Family, peers, and teachers place additional pressure on black homosexual males by utilizing popular notions of black masculinity and the religious dogma of the black church to devalue and degrade the sexual identity. The combined stress of school, peers, and community make it difficult for the black homosexual male to thrive and persist in school. This inquiry examines the ways in which these four participants overcome these pressures and stresses. It is the intent of this inquiry to bring subjugated southern voices to the table in order to extend the critical discourse surrounding the marginalization of black homosexual males in southern schools. By illuminating and amplifying the voices of these four graduates, I provide educators and policy makers with different perspectives to consider in the formation of education policy in southern schools.

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