Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Oppositional Culture Theory
Oppositional culture theory primarily explains the academic underperformance of young African American males. It holds that black youth have constructed an oppositional collective identity in response to a society they perceive as racist and antagonistic to their general well-being. From this oppositional perspective, black youth interpret the institution of education as a tool of oppression controlled by whites who serve as the gatekeepers of racial inequality. They therefore perceive academic success as conforming to a society that is antagonistic to their cultural moorings and a symbol of “acting white.” Oppositional culture theorists place the adoption of stereotypically white behavior (“acting white”) as appearing at the end of the Civil War period ...