This article discusses factors contributing to the belonging vulnerability of Black adolescents as well as educational policy considerations for providing Black adolescents with opportunities to belong at school. Scholarship at the intersection of educational psychology and teacher education provides cultural interpretations for why and how Black adolescents are vulnerable to issues of belonging when educators are not in their corner, and when curricula do not reflect their cultures. Policy recommendations include (a) strategic investments in principal preparation, (b) information and human resources to develop culturally relevant learning opportunities, and (c) substantive roles for students as school and community leaders who can help address structural causes of belonging vulnerability among this population.
This article is guided by two goals: (a) to consider how race-based perspectives can serve as theoretical tools for investigating Black adolescents’ opportunities to belong at school, and (b) to describe cultural and political aspects of schooling that can support a sense of belongingness among Black adolescents. We discuss support for the belonging of Black adolescents in terms of interpersonal, instructional, and institutional opportunity structures. We provide a set of guiding questions for scholars seeking to advance educational psychology research at the intersection of race, belonging, and motivation. We end by describing specific research directions for an inclusive examination of school belonging, along with strategies to accomplish this goal.