This Isn't the America I Thought I'd Find: African Students in the Urban U.S. High School

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9780761834557: This Isn't the America I Thought I'd Find: African Students in the Urban U.S. High School
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American society has long placed high expectations on our schools to advance this nation's prospects or to help resolve many of its ills. Throughout America's history, however, immigrant children have experienced difficulties adjusting to their new lives in our schools. This experience has been the fate of many African students who come to America with hopes of securing an excellent education, a better future, and a chance at the American dream; instead, they frequently find disappointment.

Much of this frustration stems from the marginalization of African and African-American history and cultural studies in the curriculums of many American schools. The absence of any realistic exploration of Africa or Africans in American society has led to cases of harassment, teasing, and racially charged environments. This Isn't the America I Thought I'd Find explores the African student experience and offers advice for teachers seeking to facilitate a deeper appreciation of the emotional and historical connections between people of African descent and all Americans.

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About the Author:

Rosemary Traoré, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in Urban Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Robert J. Lukens, Ph.D., J.D., is Co-Director of the Advocating on Behalf of Children Project at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, PA.

Review:

An insightful and thoughtful message on race, Afrocentric, and intercultural teaching and education. Teachers seeking to help both the migrant and immigrant students in their class will greatly benefit from a careful reading of this excellent book. (Carl A. Grant, author of “The Moment: Brack Obama, Jeremiah Wright and the Firestorm and Trinity United Church of Christ” (2013) (with Shelby Grant) and Editor of “Intersectionality and Urban Education” (2014) (with Elisabeth Zwier), Hoefs-Bascom Professor, University Wisconsin-Madison)

The implications for educators in enhancing learning for a diverse group of learners in pluralistic contexts are clear, and the work surely adds to existing knowledge on the perils and desires of difference and offers possibilities of schooling...these [students]...particularly African students. (George J. Sefa Dei, Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology and Equity Studies, University of Toronto)

This isn't the America I Thought I'd Find is well written [and raises] a fresh perspective on the topic. For that alone, the documentation of the authors' observations should be of interest to many. (Asa G. Hilliard III, Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Urban Education, Georgia State University)

In this powerful, sometimes disturbing, and ultimately inspiring book, Traoré and Lukens demonstrate how shared historical, cultural, and personal experiences often blinded by ignorance and prejudice can serve as common ground for building trust and unity among students of African descent. (James Earl Davis, Professor, Temple University)

The book is an important study of what goes on in urban high scools in this country. It is also a testament to the experiences of African students in American high schools. It's the first to focus entirely on this toic. While some [may] quarrel with the use of Afrocentricity as a model in dealing with tensions between African and African American students, unless something is done to address the problem African and African American students will carry those tensions with them into their adult lives, contributing to, not helping to dissolve the tensions that already exist between Africans and African Americans in America. (Msia Kibona Clark, Washington D.C. Allafrican.Com)

Traoré and Lukens are ahead of their time in analyzing an increasingly important theme in urban schools....teaching in a pluralistic society. ...Indeed what [they] have done is to set the bar very high. (Molefi Kete Asante, author of The History of Africa)

...Traoré and Lukens demonstrate that African and African American students can counteract an education system that "appears disinterested or obstructive to their success" (p.41)...Traoré's and Lukens' principal contribution may be in the reciprocal learning of their intervention that they demonstrate can help to create the kind of environment that enables immigrant and native-born students alike to be in better positions to achieve the educational and economic success they came to the United States seeking. (Sarah Dryden-Peterson Tcrecord)

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