Visible or Invisible? Black Girls’ Experiences in a Mathematics Classroom


Black girls, mathematics, grounded theory, race, gender, focus groups

How to Cite

Butler-Barnes, S. T., Lea II, C., Leath, S. ., Rogers, L., Barnes, D. and Ibrahim, H. (2021) “Visible or Invisible? Black Girls’ Experiences in a Mathematics Classroom”, Journal of African American Women and Girls in Education, 1(2), pp. 26–59. doi: 10.21423/jaawge-v1i2a85.


Building on extant literature, the present qualitative study explored Black adolescent girls’ racial and gendered experiences as mathematics learners. Data collection included focus groups with Black adolescent girls (N = 30, Mage = 12.64 years). Several themes concerning their racialized and gendered schooling experiences emerged, which centered on language use, competition with boys, and working hard to prove themselves. To cope with the racialized and gendered experiences within mathematics classrooms, Black girls developed informal support networks. It was also revealed that some of these coping strategies (e.g., resistance for survival) might put Black girls at risk for lower mathematics beliefs and attitudes. Directions for future research and implications for Black girls as mathematics learners are discussed.