Session: Black/African American Boys in Context (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

276 Black/African American Boys in Context

Sunday, January 19, 2020: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Marquis BR Salon 7, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Adolescent and Youth Development (ADOL)
Symposium Organizer:
Ed-Dee Williams, MSW, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Ed-Dee Williams, MSW, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Background: Over the past decade there has been a push for greater exploration on Black/African American boys that incorporates their voices to inform research about the unique experiences as well as a greater emphasis on their ecological context and the surrounding systems. Scholarship previous too much of this transition tended to focus on negative outcomes for Black/African American boy as products of maladaptive behavior, cultural deficits, and pathological deficiencies. These approaches had seemingly ignored the autonomy of Black/African American boys. Much of this work had not considered the ways in which their surrounding ecological context impacted their insights. Understanding Black/African American boy's perceptions, perspectives and experiences as a product of their unique social context is key to understanding a significant aspect of their development and outcomes.

Symposium theme: This symposium seeks to bring together a growing group of rising scholars that give greater consideration to Black/African American boy's unique social contextual circumstances. The work presented will provide a wide array of concepts, methods and frameworks that study Black/African American boys from models that give consideration to autonomy, and factors that are more central to this populations experiences. Utilizing Black/African American boy's voices in qualitative data, and using quantitative data informed by Black/African American boys, which is inclusive of their environment, experiences, and social context allows these scholars to use culturally appropriate, strength-based approaches. These approaches consider resiliency, cultural values, family and social support, community strength, and other youth related factors in their analysis.

Implications for Social Work Research: The work presented in this symposium speaks to the growing trend of considering greater ecological context in scholarly research. Furthermore, it sheds a spotlight on a population that is understudied, much less studied with a strength based approach. The research conducted by the presenting scholars look to continuously move the field forward in studying the experiences and outcomes of Black/African American boys.

* noted as presenting author
Black Boys Perceptions of Depression and Mental Health: Findings from the Ybmen Project
Ed-Dee Williams, MSW, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Daphne Watkins, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Write Your Life: Hip Hop and Resilience
Hydeen Beverly, MSW, University of Texas at Austin
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