Academic Leadership: The Online Journal


Shedrick McCall


The problem is how to determine factors influencing the perception of success for Black males who started the race behind other ethnic groups in America (Hacker, 1995). Schultz (1969) wrote a book, Coming up Black: Patterns of Ghetto Socialization. In his book, he stated that poverty hinders progress because it truly handicaps Blacks by giving them an unequal playing field. Schultz (1969) further stated that inner-city youths, especially Black males, have a struggle. He contended that the young inner-city males do not have fathers or positive male role models, which increases the likelihood of failure. Therefore, many Black males turn to the streets to survive to get an education about life. Unfortunately, the street help some Black males form the wrong perception of what success should be (Shakur, 1993). Shakur, for example, was an original gangster. He grew up in Los Angeles as a member of the notorious crips gang. He stated that the gang became his family and his source of strength (Shakur, 1993). Unfortunately, this is the case for so many Black males growing up in the inner-city. How do they break this cycle? What happens to make them change their thought patterns, perceptions and help them strive for educational and vocational success? What are the factors that inner-city Black males feels manifest success? For black males like Shakur, it was jail. For many other Black males it learned helpless behavior. They feel that no matter what they do the outcome will be the same. Fortunately, many of young Black males find success through athletics and entertainment (Green, 1995). However, every inner-city child will not grow up to be a Michael Jordan, a Magic Johnson, or a Wilt Chamberlain (Dickerson & Delsohn, 1986). Still, some young Black males reach success despite the odds of growing up in the inner-city by overcoming poverty and crime through postsecondary educational training, either collegiately or vocationally (Bowser & Perkins, 2000). Education is the one thing that cannot be taken away from them. The literature has suggested that success in school is a prerequisite for maximizing life chances and taking advantages of new opportunities presented to be successful education, professional and vocationally.