According to an article in the Huffington Post, 40% of students expelled from U.S schools each year are black. Black students are twice as likely to not graduate high school as their white classmates. The national center for education statistics reports that in North Carolina alone 6,553 black students dropped out of high school in their 9th grade year and a significantly greater amount did not continue on to a post-secondary education. The things that are portrayed through these statics are part of the everyday lives of many African American youth, but why is it that statistics like these have become the norm? What is it that perpetuates these events in black society? My suggestion is by taking a holistic approach in understanding the black identity, that much of this can be addressed. Through my research and gathered data I hope to illuminate the racial identity development of African American youth as I have observed in African American middle school students. My approach is to search for, not only the meanings of blackness within the black community, but how being black is interpreted by the rest of society at such an impressionable age. The combination of both internal blackness and how others perceive blackness plays an imperative role on how African American students,view themselves, their education, and the outlook of their future in a predominantly white society. These dynamics become evident through my research of various middle schools across Durham, North Carolina.