Low Socioeconomic Factors: Not a Limiting Factor for African American Men

James H. Flynn, Brett A. Gordon


A study on the lived experiences of 14 adult African American men, who grew up in low socioeconomic status (SES)households, was undertaken to determine factors that helped them overcome disadvantage and ultimately achievepositive life outcomes. Theoretically, the odds would seem to be stacked against them. Low SES is an especiallydifficult condition for many African Americans to overcome and may be a catalyst for under achievement ineducation, while fomenting antisocial behavior, and oppositional thinking. The reasons are manifold and complex;the literature graphically details social and economic inequities that occur in low SES environments. Throughpersonal demographic data and verbal reflections, the participants provided insights of events that led to positive lifeoutcomes. Keys to success were found in education attainment, athletic and extracurricular activities, and having atleast one adult mentor/role model whose nurturing, guidance, and love kept them on a straight line trajectory towardadulthood. Their life stories were dotted with influences owing to adult norms whose example helped them overcomelow SES quality of life issues including racially based contextual stressors.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/mos.v1n2p86


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Management and Organizational Studies  ISSN 2330-5495 (Print)  ISSN 2330-5509 (Online)

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