American Sociological Association

Section on Race, Gender, and Class

Landa Abstract

“It’s Just Completely Different For Them:” Gender Differences In Black Experiences Of An Urban-To-Suburban School Integration Program

Educational research demonstrates that many African-American students endure harsh and gender-specific training in how to “conform to the norms of the ‘Other.’” For the most part, this research strain has examined teachers’ practices. This is unfortunate, because plentiful research suggests that peers are important in adolescent development. My research, by contrast, suggests key sites through which adolescent peer networks also racialize behavior. In addition, I call attention to an underdeveloped mechanism though which Black students are othered in schools. I show that, while teachers may racialize Black youth in negative ways, peer processes within affluent, predominantly white suburban schools also other African American students, although along a high/low status continuum. These othering practices have strikingly different effects for the social status and visibility of African American boys and girls. Implications for sociological understanding of how adolescents manage race in settings where they are advantaged (or disadvantaged) across multiple dimensions, including, but not limited to, race, are discussed.