Researcher Points to Pop Culture
For Educating Black Youth ROCK HILL, S.C.
While others may rely solely on research found in university presses, Dr. C.P. Gause turns to contemporary culture to assist in assessing the role of race in education.
“We in education don’t always utilize the medium of pop culture to influence the educational process,” says Gause, an assistant professor at Winthrop University.
A recent addition to the university’s College of Education, Gause specializes in training teachers and principals to be better administrators.
He presents issues about youth identity and how contemporary culture influences what and how students learn.
His list of publication credits signals an abiding interest in the hip-hop generation, those born between 1965 and 1984, and in showing how contemporary Black culture, especially the culture of rap and hip-hop, is connected to the failure and success of students.
Some of his published papers include “B-Boys, Thugs & Gangsters: Framing Black Masculinity by Textualizing Hip Hop Culture in Today’s Public Schools”; “What You See Is Not Always What You Get: The Role of Popular Culture in Today’s Middle School”; and “Can I Get a Witness: The Social Construction of Black Masculinity.”
Black masculinity is often portrayed in the posturing and style of dress, Gause says.
“The clothes hanging off their butt, the Timberlands, the jewelry is counter to what the dominant culture perceive you should look like,” Gause says. “It’s youth rebellion.”
That rebellion becomes a problem when those students shy away from academic excellence and persecute their classmates who want to learn.
“We have to reach them where they are and raise them up,” says Gause, who cites the example of Black gospel singer Kirk Franklin, who used hip-hop gospel to reach an audience who otherwise wouldn’t want to hear messages about God.
Winthrop recently traveled to the Commonwealth Conference of Educational Administration and Management in Sweden last month to discuss how Black educators see their roles in the classroom.
“African American educators have to be advocates, be social activists and drum majors for justice in educating their own because the system continues to fail,” Gause says.
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