The Subjective Experience of Social Class and Upward Mobility Among African American Men in Graduate School.

Research paper by Francisco J FJ Sánchez, William Ming WM Liu, Leslie L Leathers, Joyce J Goins, Eric E Vilain

Indexed on: 08 Nov '11Published on: 08 Nov '11Published in: Psychology of men & masculinity


We used Consensual Qualitative Research Methodology to analyze responses from 14 African American men (Mdn(Age) = 25 years-old) in graduate school at a predominantly-White university in the Midwestern region of the United Sates regarding how they acquired awareness of their social-class status; how social class was related to their sense of masculinity; how social class was related to race and skin tone; and the role that education and a romantic partner could play in upward mobility. School peers were the main source for their early awareness of social class. Many believed that discrimination maintains social class stratification that disadvantages racial minorities and that one's race will always trump any personal characteristics-including having light-complected skin and an advanced degree. Finally many overcame several obstacles during their educational career, and most believed that a romantic relationship with a woman from a privileged background could facilitate upward mobility. Psychological scientists and practitioners are encouraged to consider the role that social class plays when examining men's well-being.