In their widely-noted 1986 article, “Black students’ school success: Coping with the burden of ‘acting White,’ ” Signithia Fordham and the late John Ogbu contended that one important reason for academic underachievement among African American youth is the overarching, cultural devaluation of educational attainment within Black communities. Fordham and Ogbu (1986) stated:

Apparently, Black children’s general perception that academic pursuit is “acting White” is learned in the Black community. The ideology of the community in regard to the cultural meaning of schooling is, therefore, implicated and needs to be reexamined.