The Urban Review

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 447–477 | Cite as

Beyond Stigma and Stereotypes: An Ethnographic Study on the Effects of School-Imposed Labeling on Black Males in an Urban Charter School

  • L. Trenton S. MarshEmail author
  • Pedro A. Noguera


This study explores the ways in which school-imposed labeling in a “no-excuses” charter school that was explicitly designed for the purpose of benefiting Black students, impacts teachers’ perceptions of Black male students who were labeled as being high risk or struggling academically, and how these students perceive their own schooling experiences. A conceptual framework with the history of how and why Black masculinity is constructed as deviant and different in the context of U.S. schools, as well as the impact of labeling on Black male students’ learning and self-esteem are detailed. While centering the labeled-students’ experiences, we examine the interactions between key stakeholders (i.e., labeled-students, teachers/administrators, and non-labeled students) at the charter school and overall the findings speak clearly to how language of deficit and pathology impacted Black male students’ schooling experiences as they negotiate racial stigma as racialized bodies at a “no-excuses” public charter school.


Black males Masculinity No-excuses charter schools Labeling Urban education Ethnography Stigma 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Michigan, National Center for Institutional Diversity and School of EducationAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information StudiesLos AngelesUSA

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