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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Leadership and Policy

First Advisor

Ben Pogodzinski


Recurring exposure to mundane, extreme, environmental stresses tends to incite racial battle fatigue in adolescent Black boys. Smith, Allen, and Danley (2007) contend that racial battle fatigue is “the result of constant physiological, psychological, cultural, and emotional coping with racial microaggressions in less-than-ideal and racially hostile or unsupportive environments” (p. 555). Within the academic space, racial battle fatigue often manifests as depression, frustration, and anxiety (Franklin & Franklin-Boyd, 2000). Racial battle fatigue could lead to lowered socioacademic outcomes for African American men and boys (Franklin, Smith, & Huang, 2011). And, those who suffer from racial battle fatigue are more likely to maintain low-grade point averages, which places them on a trajectory of becoming high school or college dropouts (Carroll, 1998; Feagin, 2002; Feagin, Vera & Imani, 2001; Solórzano, Allen, & Carroll, 2002). The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the implications that race, power, privilege, and oppression have on the abilities of White educators to engage in relationship building with adolescent African American males. This study examined how White administrators and teachers negotiated differences in their socio-cultural and academic codes to overcome barriers in order to create a need fulfilling academic environment for their adolescent Black male students. The key findings in this study indicated that some White educators desire to have a positive, authentic relationship with their adolescent African American male students. The findings further suggested that these educators were willing to set aside their fundamental beliefs about race and racism, classism, and the politics of education to communicate to their adolescent African American boys that they were valued to one degree or another. The study recommended culturally sustaining pedagogy and culturally responsive school leadership as strategies to support White educators' abilities to build and sustain meaningful relationships with their minority students.

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