“Those Loud Black Girls”: (Black) Women, Silence, and Gender “Passing” in the Academy



This article explores the impact of gender diversity on school achievement. Using data obtained from an ethnographic study of academic success in an urban high school, this analysis examines how the normalized definition of femaleness—white middle-class womanhood—juxtaposed with a two-tiered dominating patriarchy, propels African-American females to resist consuming images that assert their “nothingness”. “Loudness”,1 thus becomes a metaphor for African-American women's contrariness, embodying their resistance to this proclaimed “nothingness”. How “loudness” reflects their efforts to subvert the repercussions of these prevailing images is examined along with an assessment of its impact on academic achievement.