#BlackGirlMagic: A mixed-method case study of identity, intersectionality, and resistance to stereotypes among Black adolescent girls

Project: Research project

Project Details


Cultural narratives and stereotypes form the context in which adolescents explore and come to understand their identities (Nasir, 2011; Way & Rogers, 2014). A recent public discourse, dubbed “Black girl magic,” has emerged to highlight success stories of exceptional Black women (Thomas, 2016), but this narrative exists alongside enduring racist and sexist stereotypes of Black girls and women, which have palpable consequences for their physical health and safety, intellectual growth, and psychosocial wellbeing (Crenshaw, 1991; Harris-Perry, 2013). Does a narrative like #BlackGirlMagic provide space for Black girls (re)imagine their own developing identities? Or, does it silence the persistent racism and sexism that Black girls face at this critical juncture of identity formation? The proposed mixed-method case study asks: How do Black adolescent girls make sense of their developing identities in response to the cultural narratives about Black girls and women? Using surveys and in-depth interviews, it examines identity intersectionality at The Girls School (pseudonym), a public, all-girls high school serving predominately (98%) Black girls. Centering the voices of Black girls, the work aims to elucidate the identity strategies of Black girls in a school that is intentionally designed to pull them in rather than push them out.
Effective start/end date1/1/186/30/20


  • Spencer Foundation (Grant #201800059)


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