Young black males: Resilience and the use of capital to transform school ‘failure’
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This article addresses the idea of ‘failure’ of young black males with respect to schooling. Perceptions of black masculinity are often linked to ‘underperformance’ in the context of school academic achievement. This article addresses how young black men, by great personal effort, recover from school ‘failure’. It explores how young black men, despite negative school experiences, see possibilities for their future and how they seek to transform school ‘failure’ into personal and educational ‘success’. Low attainment combined with permanent/temporary exclusion from school does not necessarily deter young black men from pursuing their education. This low attainment is used by some to make a renewed attempt at educational progression in a different post-school learning environment. Yosso’s concept of ‘community cultural wealth’ provides an understanding of how different forms of capital are accessed by young black men to form a ‘turnaround narrative’. This article considers the complex ways in which young black males work to transform their negative school experience. Their narratives reveal a determination to succeed and the ways in which cultivation of this determination by the family, organisational/community agents promotes a sense of possibility. However, it remains to be seen how, in the UK, the cuts to vital local services and support will impact on this sense of possibility. © 2016 Taylor & Francis.