The Effects of Racism on Learners Academic Outcomes Research Paper

October 14, 2020 by Essay Writer


Many studies that have been conducted to investigate the causes of poor performance outcomes among African-American students, especially those who come from poor economic backgrounds (DeCuir-Gunby, 2009). Racism has been recognized as a major cause of unsatisfactory academic performances. Some researches to investigate the causes of low grades have focused on institutionalized racism (DeCuir-Gunby, 2009). This paper focuses on investigating the effects of racism among African-American adolescents at school level vis-a-vis performances.

Research question

What are the effects of racism on academic outcomes among African-American learners?

Literature review

Racial ideologies and segregation influence academic performances of African-American adolescents. In addition, there is the development of fears in relation to self-concept, which leads to low self-esteem (DeCuir-Gunby, 2009). This has made them perform poorer than it has made their counterpart whites. Black students have been denied rights to use informal elements of education that are crucial to good performance outcomes (Walton & Cohen, 2011). They do not have access to teaching aids that are important in learning, especially those who come from poor economic backgrounds (Walton & Cohen, 2011). A black learner would find it difficult to interact with a white student to access the informal materials. Critical information from the administration and faculties is not availed to black adolescent students (Walton & Cohen, 2011).

Data and methods

The representative sample was made up of 150 students from African-American high school adolescents. The population was from different schools. The sample was made up of students aged between 15-17. Both males and females were represented reasonably in the sample. Data collected focused on racial perception, interactions, and favoritism experiences among the blacks. Questionnaires were administered to the interviewees.


Most learners who participated in the study responded to the questions without any problems. There were clarifications from the interviewees to gain more data. In addition, discoveries were made with regard to how students considered and felt about particular topics, and why they thought that their views were correct.


The method required many questionnaires, which were difficult to administer. The method was time-consuming, i.e., interviewing, analyzing data, and reporting took a lot of time.


Black adolescents who were experiencing difficulties in interacting with white students obtained lower grades than those who easily interacted. In addition, there was a difference in the dependent variable where boys obtained higher grades than girls. Most of the participants reported that their parents and/or guardians had high school certificates and did not have good earnings in relation to white citizens. This indicated that they came from poor economic backgrounds. In most district schools, the schools had 60% whites, 18% blacks, 3% Asian, and 19% other minority races (Walton & Cohen, 2011).


The study utilized the conflict theory that holds that a society has varying environments (Neblett, Philip, Cogburn & Sellers, 2006). In this context, the black students were the weak, while the strong were the white learners, and all of them were struggling for education (Neblett et al., 2006). This is contrary to symbolic interactionist and functionalist theories that concentrate on affirmative characteristics of a community that lead to its security.


In conclusion, there are adverse effects of racism on academic outcomes of African-American adolescents at school level. Therefore, governments should intervene and make regulations that will promote performance outcomes of black students. In addition, they should equip the students with learning materials.


DeCuir-Gunby, J. T. (2009). A review of the racial identity development of African American adolescents: The role of education. Review of Educational Research, 79(1), 103-124.

Neblett, E. W., Philip, C. L., Cogburn, C. D., & Sellers, R. M. (2006). African American adolescents’ discrimination experiences and academic achievement: Racial socialization as a cultural compensatory and protective factor. Journal of Black psychology, 32(2), 199-218.

Walton, G. M., & Cohen, G. L. (2011). A brief social-belonging intervention improves academic and health outcomes of minority students. Science, 331(6023), 1447-1451.

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