African-American teens blame systemic racism for the academic achievement gap between blacks and whites, a belief that was shaped by their parents and other factors, a new University of Michigan study found.

Researchers examined black adolescents’ beliefs about why black students do not perform as well as white students in school, and the extent to which parents’ messages about race contribute to these beliefs.

One of these attributions — structural, which involves system racism — increased as students progressed from 10th grade to 12th grade. Their individual attributions, which focus largely on blaming black Americans based on work ethic, attitudes and merit, remained stable, researchers said.

“The current approach allows for a refined understanding of how black youth explain a specific social disparity — educational opportunity — that is relevant to their lives,” said Josefina Bañales, a U-M psychology doctoral candidate and the study’s lead author.

Read the full article at Michigan News.