Traditionally, African American grandparents have played a critical role in the caretaking responsibilities of their grandchildren. This has allowed their adult children to be able to pursue educational and employment opportunities. However, how the consequences of mass incarceration on the African American family system extend beyond the incarcerated individual into the lives of their children and the grandparents left to care for them are little discussed.
For too long educational stakeholders including researchers, administrators, teachers, parents and even students placed value in the notion that African American students have less interest and capacity in education. What is most troubling is that African American students may themselves hold these beliefs. This could lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, so to speak, contributing to achievement at standards below actual capabilities. Parents and teachers must be sure that they are instilling positive beliefs around African American students and high levels of academic achievement.
When it seems like Black children are mistreated for expressing anger, fear, joy, or for simply existing, it can be a daunting task to figure out how to best protect them from harm while also allowing them to live and thrive unapologetically. Here are a few things to consider from the research.