Selfish girls: Perceived understanding of gender, race, and *class in discussions about technology with pre-adolescent, low-income, African American girls
Tamara Renee Pearson, University of Florida, United States
University of Florida . Awarded
This study explores the attitudes concerning race, gender, and class of eight preadolescent African American girls from the Queensbridge Public Houses. Over the course of two years, eight girls were challenged to think about the current standing of Black women in technical fields. Through discussions about technology, the girls' perceptions about race, gender, and class were thoroughly examined. Using the current frameworks of critical, Black feminist, and self-efficacy theories, connections were made between the views of these eight girls and the historical oppression of Black women at work.
Critical theory is used to show the power structures that have placed the poor, minorities, and women in a position of subjugation throughout history. Black feminist theory claims that oppressive labels have been attached to Black women in American society, and the domination leads to their acceptance of the viewpoint reflective of American society. Self-efficacy theory implies that confidence in technology is developed based on internal and external factors, and is reflective of the experiences that person has in that field.
Based on the foundations of the theories above, this study makes the claim that these eight pre-adolescent low-income African American girls do not understand the connection between career aspirations and class, race, and gender oppression. Their words and behaviors suggest a belief in a merit-based system of success where a person achieves success based on hard work. The theories discussed above claim that these beliefs have been used historically to oppress Blacks, women, and the poor at work, and especially in technical fields.
Pearson, T.R. Selfish girls: Perceived understanding of gender, race, and *class in discussions about technology with pre-adolescent, low-income, African American girls. Ph.D. thesis, University of Florida.
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