American Sociological Association

“It’s the Person, but Then the Environment, Too”: Black and Latino Males’ Narratives about Their College Successes

This study relies on in-depth interviews with 30 Black and Latino males to explore how they narrate and make meaning from their college experiences at a Hispanic Serving Institution. A good deal of public and educational discourse often supposes these students’ lack of care and concern about their educational outcomes without understanding a larger context for their experiences. In this study, I explore these Black and Latino male students’ transitions to college and their success narratives. First, investigating their transition experiences allows for an opportunity to understand the strategies they deployed upon entering college and how these early experiences matter in their aspirations and sense of self. In their transitions, I find that students primarily relied on strategies and behaviors that are focused almost solely on academic effort while also isolating themselves from the college community and precluding themselves from developing social and cultural capital on campus. Second, analyzing their narratives of success allows for understanding the various networks and resources that students call upon in their college career. My findings show that students rely on a family–community nexus, including their on-campus involvement to support their college efforts. In addition to showing how social and cultural capital matter in Black and Latino males’ college experiences, this study extends our understanding of how students strive for and achieve success in college.


Derrick R. Brooms





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