The Educational Experience of Young Men of Color: A Review of Research, Pathways and Progress

by John Michael Lee, Jr.; Tafaya Ransom

Jun 1, 2011

This report synthesizes the literature on high school, postsecondary pathways, and higher education for African American, Asian Amerian and Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American and Alaska Native males. The result is a set of findings that are in common among these groups, as well as a number of distinct challenges and opportunities for each.
  • Young men of color confront barriers to high school success related to achievement, persistence, and support. For Asian American males, high achievement in general masks myriad problems faced by especially Southeast Asians.
  • Analysis of six possible postsecondary pathways shows that of males ages 15 to 24, more than 51 percent of Hispanics, 45 percent of African Americans, 42 percent of Native Americans and 33 percent of Asian Americans end up unemployed, incarcerated or dead.
  • Coping with a lack of support in higher education, African American and Latino students have developed strategies including community building, interactions with diverse peers, and involvement in fraternities and clubs. Native American and Alaska native students have been shown to thrive when they have strong institutional support and a connection to homeland and culture.
  • Active engagement of communities in collaboration with businesses and schools to provide young men of color with academic and social supports are crucial. This must be accompanied by educational reforms and a further commitment to research.