Kelly N. Ferguson


Black male students are disproportionately disciplined in schools, primarily for subjective acts of defiance. This scholarship explores how defiance is an integral force in the lives of Black males from boyhood to manhood and how schools can contribute to the development of this unique expression of resilience. Defiance is a personal and collective set of resistance strategies to counter the economic, racial and social constraints unique to Black life in American society and schools. When defiance is channelled constructively, Black males use it to foster productive academic, social and professional lives, and to counter negative stereotypes. Understanding the spirit of defiance will aid teachers, schools and communities in minimizing cultural misunderstandings that lead to punitive and exclusionary disciplinary referrals.


Defiance, Discipline, Black Males, Mentorship, Disproportionality

Full Text:



Bonner, F. (Ed.). (2014). Building on resistance: Models and frameworks of Black male success across the P-20 pipeline. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC.

Davis, D.J., Brunn-Bevel, R.J., & Olive, J.L. (Eds.). (2015). Intersectionality in educational research. Sterling VA: Stylus.

Duncan, G.A. (2002). Beyond love: A critical race ethnography of the schooling of adolescent Black males. Equity & Excellence in Education, 35(2), 131-143.

Fenning, P., & Rose, J. (2007). Overrepresentation of African American students in exclusionary discipline the role of school policy. Urban Education, 42(6), 536-559.

Gay, G. (2013). Teaching to and through cultural diversity. Curriculum Inquiry, 43(1), 48-70.

Gregory, A., & Weinstein, R. S. (2008). The discipline gap and African Americans: Defiance or cooperation in the high school classroom. Journal of School Psychology, 46(4), 455-475.

James, M.C., & Lewis, C. (2014). Kindling the spark of Black male genius through education. Journal of African American Males in Education, 5(2), 267-282.

Kohli, R., & Solorzano, D. (2012). Teachers, please learn our names!: Racial microaggressions and the K-12 classroom. Race Ethnicity and Education, 15(4), 441-462.

Lewis, C., James, M., Hancock, S., & Hill-Jackson, V. (2008). Framing African American students’ success and failure in urban settings. Urban Education, 43(2), 127-153.

Losen, D. J., & Martinez, T. E. (2013). Out of school and off track: The overuse of suspensions in American middle and high schools. Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles.

Milner IV, H. R. (2010). Start where you are, but don't stay there: Understanding diversity, opportunity gaps, and teaching in today's classrooms. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Mincy, R. (Ed.). (2006). Black males left behind. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press.

Monroe, C. R. (2006). African American boys and the discipline gap: Balancing educators' uneven hand. Educational Horizons, 84(2) 102-111.

Noguera, P. (2003). The trouble with Black boys: The role and influence of environmental and cultural factors on the academic performance of African American males. Urban Education, 38(4), 431-459.

Office for Civil Rights. (2014). Data snapshot: School discipline. Retrieved from

Simien, E. (2007). Doing intersectionality research: From conceptual issues to practical examples. Politics & Gender, 3(2), 264-271. doi:10.1017/S1743923X07000086

Skiba, R.J., Horner, R.H., Chung, C.G., Karega Rausch, M., May, S.L., & Tobin, T. (2011). Race is not neutral: A national investigation of African American and Latino disproportionality in school discipline. School Psychology Review, 40(1), 85.

Skiba, R. J., Michael, R. S., Nardo, A. C., & Peterson, R. L. (2002). The color of discipline: Sources of racial and gender disproportionality in school punishment. The Urban Review, 34(4), 317-342.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Journal of Media Critiques [JMC]

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.