Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Education


Leadership and Counselor Education

First Advisor

Rosusan D. Bartee

Second Advisor

Lori Wolff

Third Advisor

Stacy R. Niemeyer


This study, The Acting White Phenomenon: An Examination of Existing and Emerging Implications for African American Students in Rural Schools in Mississippi, examines the impact the Acting White Phenomenon has on the academic and social development of African American adolescents in rural schools of Mississippi. This study uses various analytical methods and presents research conclusions, discussions and implications to guide future work in minimizing the effect and maximize the benefits to African American adolescents in rural high schools in Mississippi. Studying African American seniors in rural high schools in multiple locations, this mixed methods study gathers both quantitative and qualitative data in an effort to answer two research questions: (1) In what ways, if any, does the Acting White Phenomenon exist among African American senior students in rural high schools in Mississippi? (2) How do African American senior students experience in the Acting White Phenomenon in rural schools in Mississippi? The study demonstrated how African American students in this study are resilient and resourceful, finding means by which to address, deter, redirect, or ignore those accusing them of Acting White and continue their academic pursuits. The study also demonstrated how detrimental the Acting White Phenomenon can be to one’s mental and emotional well-being. Thus, educators must be more deliberate in how to address the Acting White Phenomenon with students, teachers, administrators, school boards, and community stakeholders.


Emphasis: Education Leadership (K-12)



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.