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INTRODUCTION: African American men may experience feelings of invisibility when maneuvering throughout the public education system. Encounters with alienation, discrimination, and prejudice play a major role in influencing one’s decision to remain in school or dropout. Examining the extent to which the invisibility syndrome manifests in African American men during their K-12 experiences can expand knowledge in understanding their feelings of worthlessness and insignificance in the classroom. METHOD: This research investigated the degree to which invisibility syndrome manifested in retrospective accounts in the K-12 experiences of African American collegiate men. Analysis aim to identify how coping mechanisms can assist in reducing or alleviating feelings of invisibility. RESULTS: Findings suggest that alienation was the most prevalent feeling of invisibility followed by discrimination. Emotional regulation and higher education encouragement were found to be the most frequently used coping mechanisms among the participants. CONCLUSION: Overall, findings revealed the sample of African American assumed internalized feelings of invisibility, but they possessed the psychological assets needed to overcome such a damaging emotional and psychological state of being. Implementing culturally responsive and relevant teaching practices in addition to cultivating a positive family-school-community connection can assist in promoting confidence and motivation within African American men to remain in school and persist to higher education.

Publication Date



Race related trauma, Invisibility, African American, Men, Coping


Counselor Education | Education | Psychology

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dawn X. Henderson, PhD

Is Part Of

VCU Graduate Research Posters

From Invisible to Visible: Exploring Invisibility Syndrome and Coping Among African American Men