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In this class we have examined historical changes in our economic class structure and how these changes have impacted individuals and their communities. During the period between 1945 and 1977, public policies—including increased opportunities to go to college and/or buy a home—increased opportunities for social mobility—mostly for white Americans. Since the 1980s, however, opportunities for upward mobility have decreased across the board. Nonetheless, people with college degrees have fared much better in the last 40 years compared to those without this resource. Since you are all students at the University of California, Berkeley, this essay asks you to identify and explain key social conditions that facilitated your admission to this prestigious public university. Some of you have had easier journeys to UC Berkeley than others. In most cases, the root cause of these differences is related to the socio-economic conditions and racial/ethnic background of your family and community. Sadly, there is abundant statistical evidence that class as well as race/ethnicity shape the educational opportunities that are available to different communities.
Prompt: In this essay, consider how economic class, modified by race/ethnicity, affects the wider parameters of community resources, including public education. Using your own family history as a case study, what kind of educational opportunities have been available to you? To what extent have these opportunities been embedded within the community/ies where your family lives? In other words, what kind of social policies (think in broad terms) have contributed to your educational opportunities or their absence?

My family is a middle class African American family. I have a sibling and we both attended private schools K-8th. Then in high school I attended Whitney M. Young Magnet Highschool, while my brother went to a private high school. I’m from Chicago, Illinois. The neighborhood I grew up in my entire life is called Hyde Park, which is a good neighborhood. I have had great educational opportunities my entire life. I do not think that they tie to my neighborhood though. There are some public schools in my neighborhood that are not so good and there are a few private schools that are way better. My neighborhood is incredibly diverse so there are many races of people who are successful. In this case economic status matters more than race/ethnicity because my community is diverse. There are White, Black, Asian, Indian, and Latinos who do well in my community.

Your completed essay should be 1600 +/- 150 words. Your word count should be posted on the top left side of the first page. There will be a penalty for seriously exceeding or shortening your word count limit. he essays should be in docx, doc, or pdf formats. For ease of commenting, double space your essay. You only need to include a “Works Cited” page if you use references outside those assigned in the class.
Bad Boys Ferguson, Ann ArnettPublished by University of Michigan PressFerguson, Ann Arnett. Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity.University of Michigan Press, 2000. Project additional information about this book\[ Access provided at 17 Aug 2021 04:22 GMT from University of California, Berkeley \]
Ferguson, Ann. 2001. Bad Boys. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. Reading Guide, Ann Arnett Ferguson, chs. 1 – 4 of Bad Boys 1. What does Ferguson mean when she writes “just as [some] children are tracked into futures as doctors, scientists . . . word processors, and fast-food workers, there were also tracks for some children, predominantly African American and male, that led to prison” (p.2)? 2. What was the “punishing room”? What did adults think was supposed to happen in the punishing room? How did the children’s perspective on the punishing room differ? 3. What is the eventual outcome for Alain of “what Alain wrote” in the punishing room? 4. What were two examples of getting into trouble for being “in the wrong place at the wrong time”? What were two examples of getting into trouble for not being able to “regulate the body?” 5. How did classroom tedium contribute to “getting into trouble”? 6. Why does Ferguson believe that we must consider social constructions of race and gender to explain why African American boys were most likely to be punished? Did other children misbehave in class? How was the misbehavior of girls understood by the teachers? 7. What was the distinction (white) teachers made between the “good good boy” and the “good bad boy”? How was the (white) “good bad boy” different from the (black”) “bad boy” in terms of misbehavior? 8. How might child “defiance” differ between poor/working class African American boys and middle-class white boys? 9. What does Ferguson mean when she says that teachers “adultified” the behavior of African American boys? 10. How did African American teachers justify their punishment of African American boys? 11. How did the boys’ interest in creating a masculine identity play into the acceptance of the “bad boy” role? 12. What were the three essential elements that Ferguson identify as being critical to the “troublemakers” sense of masculine identity? 13. What are some of the factors that made the “trouble makers” feel socially marginalized while in school? 14. What were some of the social and psychological issues faced by the “school boys”? 15. What larger social costs are created by the tense relationship between schools and the “bad boys” (who, by the way, represent only a segment of African American youth)?
chapter onedon’t believe the hype—public enemy, “don’t believe the hype”Soon after I began ‹eldwork at Rosa Parks Elementary School, one ofthe adults, an African American man, pointed to a black boy whowalked by us in the hallway.1“That one has a jail-cell with his name onit,” he told me. We were looking at a ten-year-old, barely four feet tall,whose frail body was shrouded in baggy pants and a hooded sweatshirt.The boy, Lamar, passed with the careful tread of someone who was inno hurry to get where he was going. He was on his way to the Punish-ing Room of the school. As he glanced quickly toward and then awayfrom us, the image of the ‹gure of Tupac Shakur on the poster adver-tising the movie Juice›ashed into my mind. I suppose it was the com-bination of the hooded sweatshirt, the guarded expression in his eyes,and what my companion had just said that reminded me of the face onthe ‹lm poster that stared at me from billboards and sidings all overtown.I was shocked that judgment and sentence had been passed on thischild so matter-of-factly by a member of the school staff. But by theend of the school year, I had begun to suspect that a prison cell might1. This research was assisted by an award from the Social Science Research Councilthrough funding provided by the Rockefeller Foundation. The names of the city, school,and individuals in this ethnography are ‹ctitious in order to preserve the anonymity of par-ticipants.[To view this text, refer to the print version of this title.]
indeed have a place in Lamar’s future. What I observed at Rosa Parksduring more than three years of ‹eldwork in the school, heard from theboy himself, from his teachers, from his mother, made it clear that justas children were tracked into futures as doctors, scientists, engineers,word processors, and fast-food workers, there were also tracks for somechildren, predominantly African American and male, that led toprison. This book tells the story of the making of these bad boys, not bymembers of the criminal justice system on street corners, or in shop-ping malls, or video arcades, but in and by school, through punish-ment. It is an account of the power of institutions to create, shape, andregulate social identities.Unfortunately, Lamar’s journey is not an isolated event, but tracesa disturbing pattern of African American male footsteps out of class-rooms, down hallways, and into disciplinary spaces throughout theschool day in contemporary America. Though African American boysmade up only one-quarter of the student body at Rosa Parks, theyaccounted for nearly half the number of students sent to the PunishingRoom for major and minor misdeeds in 1991–92. Three-quarters ofthose suspended that year were boys, and, of those, four-‹fths wereAfrican American.2In the course of my study it became clear thatschool labeling practices and the exercise of rules operated as part of ahidden curriculum to marginalize and isolate black male youth in dis-ciplinary spaces and brand them as criminally inclined.But trouble is not only a site of regulation and stigmatization.Under certain conditions it can also be a powerful occasion foridenti‹cation and recognition. This study investigates this aspect ofpunishment through an exploration of the meaning of school rules andthe interpretation of trouble from the youth’s perspective. What does itmean to hear adults say that you are bound for jail and to understand2BAD BOYS2. Punishment resulted in suspension 20 percent of the time. Records show that in1991–92, 250 students, or almost half of the children at Rosa Parks School, were sent tothe Punishing Room by adults for breaking school rules, for a total of 1,252 journeys. This‹gure is based on my count of referral forms kept on ‹le in the Punishing Room. However,it by no means represents the total number of students referred by teachers for discipline. Iobserved a number of instances where children came into the Punishing Room but theproblem was settled by the student specialist on the spot and no paperwork was generated.This seemed especially likely to occur when the adult referring the child had written aninformal note rather than on the of‹cial referral form, when a parent did not have to becalled, or when the infraction was judged by the student specialist to be insigni‹cant. So itis likely that a much larger number of children were sent to the Punishing Room over theyear but no record was made as a result of the visit.
that the future predicted for you is “doing time” inside prison walls?What does school trouble mean under such deleterious circumstances?How does a ten-year-old black boy fashion a sense of self within thiscontext? Children like Lamar are not just innocent victims of arbitraryacts; like other kids, he probably talks out of turn, argues with teachers,uses profanities, brings contraband to school. However, I will argue, themeaning and consequences of these acts for young black males likehimself are different, highly charged with racial and gender signi‹cancewith scarring effects on adult life chances.The pattern of punishment that emerges from the Rosa Parks datais not unique. Recent studies in Michigan, Minnesota, California, andOhio reveal a similar pattern.3In the public schools of Oakland, Cali-fornia, for example, suspensions disproportionately involved AfricanAmerican males, while in Michigan schools, where corporal punish-ment is still permitted, blacks were more than ‹ve times more likely tobe hit by school adults than were whites. In the Cincinnati schools,black students were twice as likely to end up in the in-house suspensionroom—popularly known as the “dungeon”—and an overwhelmingproportion of them were male.4In an ominous parallel to Cincinnati’sdungeon, disciplinary space at Rosa Parks is designated the “Jailhouse.”The School and NeighborhoodI was initiated to Rosa Parks Elementary School in 1989 as a memberof an evaluation team for a new intervention program for children diag-nosed as “at-risk” of failing in school. The program, Partners at Learn-ing Skills (PALS), included in-school counseling, after-school tutoringand recreation, evening and weekend workshops for parents, and in-DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE33. “Survey: Schools Suspend Blacks More,” Detroit Free Press,December 14, 1988,4A; Joan Richardson, “Study Puts Michigan 6th in Student Suspensions,” Detroit FreePress,August 21, 1990, 1A; Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning,Student Suspension and Expulsion: Report to the Legislature(St. Paul: Minnesota Depart-ment of Children, Families and Learning, 1996); Commission for Positive Change in theOakland Public Schools, Keeping Children in Schools: Sounding the Alarm on Suspensions(Oakland, Calif.: The Commission, 1992), 1; and John D. Hull, “Do Teachers Punishaccording to Race?” Time,April 4, 1994, 30–31.4. In Oakland, while 28 percent of students in the system were African Americanmales, they accounted for 53 percent of the suspensions. See note 3 for racial imbalance incorporal punishment in Michigan schools (“Survey: Schools Suspend Blacks More”), andthe racial discipline gap in Cincinnati (Hull, “Do Teachers Punish?”).
service training for teachers. It was just one of hundreds that had beenstarted in schools and communities throughout the United States inresponse to the erosion of funding and services to urban public schoolsthat had occurred over the previous decade.The children participating in PALS had been selected by a com-mittee of teachers, school administrators, and a counselor. I was toldthat the selection committee had had a very dif‹cult time choosing the‹rst group of thirty children since more than three times that numberhad been proposed by classroom teachers. One of the most dif‹cultquestions facing the selection committee, it was said, was whether tochoose pupils who might bene‹t from extra help or to select those whowere, in the words of one of the school administrators, “unsalvageable”and on whom precious resources would be wasted. The selection com-mittee could not agree, so they compromised and included both types.The ‹rst time I saw the entire group of children in PALS, theywere in the school library taking a pencil-and-paper test designed tomeasure self-esteem. That was when I ‹rst became aware of a disturb-ing fact: all the children except one were African American, and ofthose 90 percent were males.5I quickly became aware that what wassurprising and problematic for me appeared to be taken for granted bythe others. No one at the school seemed surprised that the vast major-ity of children de‹ned as “at-risk” of failing academically, of beingfuture school dropouts, were mostly black and male. My own puzzleover how this raced and gendered pattern had come into being lead meto conduct an in-depth study through participant observation at theRosa Parks School over a three-and-a-half year period from January1990 to May 1993.Rosa Parks School is the largest of ‹ve intermediate schools (grades4 through 6) in the school district of Arcadia, a medium-sized city onthe West Coast. The city is best known as the home of a large publicuniversity whose prestige and reputation has attracted students and fac-ulty from all over the world. Arcadia has operated a complex plan forschool desegregation since 1968 that involves citywide busing to pro-duce a racial/ethnic and socioeconomic mix in its schools. Studentsattending Rosa Parks come from a population where race, householdtype, and annual income are skewed into three types of neighborhood4BAD BOYS5. The one who was not black had a Hispanic surname.
I have called Heartland, Midland, and the Highlands.6Each day thebuses bring children, the majority of whom are white, from upper-mid-dle-class professional families in the relatively af›uent Midland and thewealthy Highlands to Rosa Parks School, where they join the kids fromthe predominantly low-income African American families living in theHeartland neighborhood surrounding the school.7The racial balance targeted by the Arcadia desegregation programhas never been actually attained because of the “white ›ight” from thepublic schools that followed the implementation of the desegregationplan in 1968. The percentage of white students in the K–12 grades ofthe city’s schools declined from 60 percent to 30 percent between 1960and 1993.8For a city with a reputation for being one of the most lib-eral communities in the country, Arcadia has one of the highest per-centages of children attending private schools in the region.9Many ofthe white children who attend private or parochial elementary schoolseventually return to attend the Arcadia public high school, whereclasses are de facto segregated as the result of an elaborate tracking sys-tem.DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE56. Children are bused in from areas of the city that are vastly different in terms oftheir social and economic characteristics. I compared 1990 census data from two of themost af›uent census tracts from which children are bused (Midland and the Highlands) todata from the tract in which the school is located (Heartland). Heartland has a medianfamily income of $20,192, while Midland has a median family income of $66,234, andthat of the Highlands is $97,315. Heartland has the highest percentage of blacks and thelowest percentage of whites, while the reverse is true for the Highlands. Race is therefore anexcellent predictor of whether a child comes from a family with limited resources. Childrenin Heartland are also more likely to be living in female-headed households than thosebused in. Sixty-one percent of children under eighteen years in Heartland live in female-headed households, compared with 27 percent for Midland and 8 percent for the High-lands. This is signi‹cant because female-headed households in the United States are morelikely to be poverty households than married-couple households. This is true of Heartland,where women head three-quarters of the families living below the poverty level. House-holds headed by females in Heartland had a mean income of $15,150 per year, comparedto $38,306 for those of married couples. In the Highlands, however, the mean income offemale-headed households is $54,388, and those headed by married couples averaged$153,828 annually.7. About half of the kids in the school are eligible for the subsidized lunch program,while just over one-third come from families that receive AFDC. Almost all of these areneighborhood kids.8. Arcadia Schools Enrichment Of‹ce, “Comparative Racial Census of the ArcadiaSchool District, Grade K–12,” 1991.9. Diana Walsh, “Money Isn’t the Only Factor in School Choice,” San FranciscoExaminer,March 7, 1993, 13.
At the time of my study approximately one-half of the Rosa Parksstudent body was black and one-third was white. Of the remaining stu-dents, 10 percent were Asian American, 4 percent Hispanic, and 8 per-cent were classi‹ed as Other. The racial composition of the teachingstaff, however, had changed little since desegregation, continuing to bepredominately white and female.10Rosa Parks School itself is far from being one of the run-down,resource-poor facilities documented in several recent accounts of urbanschools.11The freshly painted two-story building and the asphalt play-ground occupies a full city block. Beautiful old pine trees stand oneither side of the walkway leading up to a wide stone porch set in frontof the main entrance to the school. The building faces onto a grassylawn that is green for a short time in the spring and brown by the endof the summer when the school year begins. After school, children playfootball on the grass or hang around on the wide stone porch.Inside the front door I am always struck by the calm atmosphere.The hallways are wide, clean, and lined by bulletin boards displayingchildren’s work. The classrooms are ‹lled with light from big windows.These are not rooms that speak of the bare necessities. Rooms areadorned with books, plants, animals, computers, games. Even so,teachers reminisce about better times in the school when the availabil-ity of basic school supplies could be taken for granted, when there wasa school nurse, when the playground was open for recreation in theafternoons.Nor is the neighborhood in which the school stands dilapidated orrun-down. There is a mix of small, neat, single-family dwellings witholder rambling wood-frame houses converted into multiple familyunits. Some are shabby, some are newly renovated. A few 1960s vintageapartment buildings, home to many of the poorest families, are inter-spersed throughout the neighborhood.In spite of the quiet, ordinary feeling of its surroundings, RosaParks School is located in the heart of a major drug-traf‹cking area inthe city. The buying and selling of drugs, the symbolic presence ofurban poverty, is signaled through the signposts on a number of street6BAD BOYS10. There were twenty white, nine African American, and three Asian Americanteachers, of whom only three classroom teachers were male, one of whom was AfricanAmerican.11. See, for example, Alex Kotlowitz, There Are No Children Here(New York: Doubleday, 1991), and Jonathan Kozol, Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools(New York: HarperCollins, 1991).
corners that warn that police are watching and that the car license num-bers of people buying drugs are being recorded. The area accounted forten of the city’s fourteen murders; one-half of the reported rapes; abouta third of the robberies, and almost a half of the aggravated assaults inthe city, according to 1991 statistics from the Arcadia Police Depart-ment.12Doing FieldworkStatistics about school trouble and punishment provide a map thatdelineates a raced and gendered pattern of who gets punished in schooland present the big picture of a disturbing phenomenon, but they cantell us very little about the actual processes that give rise to thiscon‹guration. So, my ‹eldwork was designed to explore theseprocesses. Through a combination of participant observation at theschool and a wide range of interviews and conversations with kids andadults, I examined the beliefs, the social relationships, and the everydaypractices that give rise to a pattern in which the kids who are sent tojailhouses and dungeons in school systems across the United States aredisproportionately black and male.As a participant observer, I roamed the hallways before, during,and after school, hung out in the student cafeteria and the teachers’lounge at lunchtime, attended assemblies, wandered around the play-ground during recess. I sat in on classes and in the school library. I alsotutored in the PALS after-school program.During my second year, I began sitting in on Mrs. Daly’s sixth-grade class. I had chosen this room because Horace, the boy who I wastutoring after school, was in the class.13The ‹rst few visits, I spent mostof my time sitting at a worktable, quietly watching what was going on.But very soon, with Mrs. Daly’s encouragement, I began participatingin the regular classroom activities. I often worked with small groups ofkids who needed help. I observed Horace and his friends “in action”and also got to know several of the African American girls in the classwho were considered “challenges” and who also spent time in the Pun-ishing Room. I accompanied the group on several ‹eld trips, includingDON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE712. Arcadia Police Department statistics as reported in a PALS document.13. There were twenty-seven children, ten girls and seventeen boys, in Mrs. Daly’sclass. Fifteen of the children were African American, six were white, three were Hispanic,and three were of Asian descent.
a three-day camping trip, the sixth-grade picnic at the end of the schoolyear, and the orientation at the junior high school to which some of thekids would be transferring the following year.But the most important site of all was observing in what I came tocall the Punishing Room as well as in the other spaces connected withthe school’s discipline system. I would not have discovered the existenceof the Punishing Room on my own. Some of the boys whom I wasobserving in Mrs. Daly’s class led me to it because it was a regular stopon their passage through the day. I had already begun following theminto more familiar places: their classroom, the playground, the cafete-ria. I had begun to sift through their ‹les in the school of‹ce and hadlearned about their scores on reading and math placement tests,whether their vision had been checked, whether they had moved fromanother school district. But I had never actually followed them down to“Miss Woolley’s of‹ce” when they got in trouble until one day Mrs.Daly asked me to accompany two boys who had gotten in trouble rightafter recess for squirting water at each other. “I want to make sure theymake it back to class quickly. Not get lost”—this with a signi‹cant lookat both boys—“on the way back.” So I went with them and discoveredthe function of one of the spaces of the school that up to that point Ihad only glanced at as I passed by.After this ‹rst visit I asked permission to observe in the PunishingRoom. At ‹rst the staff of the Punishing Room, all African Americans,were uneasy about my presence. But they were interested in the factthat my research was looking for answers as to why the majority of chil-dren getting into trouble and frequenting their of‹ce were AfricanAmerican. It turned out that this was a topic that they had theoriesabout themselves. As a result, they not only gave me access, but urgedme to look through the discipline records kept on individual childrenin the ‹ling cabinets in their of‹ce.14I spent many hours sitting in the Punishing Room, and my pres-ence became less obtrusive as time went by. After the ‹rst few days, dur-ing which I felt that the student specialists were consciously bridlingtheir responses to the children, being “softer” because of my presence, Ibecame a taken-for-granted member of the setting. When this hap-pened, verbal harangues, sympathy, even physical intimidation could8BAD BOYS14. The student specialists also turned over to me the referral forms from 1992–93 atthe end of the school year. I organized the data from the forms according to grade, race,gender, type of infraction, punishment, and noted any comments by teachers.
be expressed without the fear that I was monitoring their activities onbehalf of the school district. I became even more “invisible” as I satcopying the data from the discipline ‹les. I would sit there handwritingthe contents of referral slips onto a yellow pad while a stream of chil-dren came in and out of the room with stories, explanations, com-plaints. Scathing adult comments and childish declarations of inno-cence took place as if I were not there at all. Phone calls to parents weremade, and families were critically appraised by staff after these conver-sations. I gained a great deal of insight from these interactions. What Iobserved con‹rmed that a trip to the Punishing Room was not neces-sarily a shameful event but held a variety of meanings for the children.For example, one day a ‹fth-grade African American boy who wasalways in trouble saw the ‹le folder with his name on the desk. “I got alot in there, don’t I? Who else got one that big?” he asked. There wasawe in his voice at his accomplishment. He had made an importantmark on the school.Troublemakers and SchoolboysThe heart of my research was the time I spent with twenty ‹fth- andsixth-grade African American boys. These boys had been selected afterdiscussions with school personnel, review of the discipline ‹les, and myown initial observations in and around the school. Ten of the boys,whom I have called Schoolboys,had been identi‹ed by the school as“doing well,” while ten boys, whom I call the Troublemakers,wereidenti‹ed as “getting into trouble.” I conducted interviews with all andspent time observing, hanging out with, and getting to know a smallergroup.The Troublemakers were no strangers to the Punishing Room. Allthe members of this group of boys had been suspended at home at leastonce over the course of the year for school infractions such as ‹ghting,obscenity, bringing toy guns to school. None had ever been chargedwith illegal acts such as bringing drugs or real guns to school. Nonewere inveterate truants; the vast majority rarely voluntarily missed a dayof school and were usually on time. All had been labeled “at-risk” offailing, “unsalvageable,” or “bound for jail” by school personnel.The Schoolboys, on the other hand, had only occasionally beenhanded a referral slip, and none of them had ever been suspended. At the outset of my study I saw this group as just the opposite of theDON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE9
Troublemakers, as a control group; I wondered how they were differ-ent. What could we learn about the attitude, home-life, experiences ofa group of boys who were clearly committed to the school’s project thatwould help explain Troublemakers? However, I gradually realized thatto see Schoolboys and Troublemakers as fundamentally different was tomake a grave mistake. As African American males, Schoolboys werealways on the brink of being rede‹ned into the Troublemaker categoryby the school. The pressures and dilemmas this group faced around raceand gender identities from adults and peers were always palpable forcesworking against their maintaining a commitment to the school project.That is, of course, why schools across the nation witness the continualattrition of the ranks of the “schoolboys” as they join those of the “trou-blemakers.”All of the boys in the study lived in the neighborhood around theschool. All except two of the Schoolboys were from low-income fami-lies eligible for the school lunch program.15The composition of thesehouseholds varied greatly from family to family and affected resourcesavailable to them in signi‹cant ways. Of the Schoolboys, three camefrom families in which both mother and father lived in the household,four from mother-headed households, one lived with his grandmother,and one lived with both grandparents. Of the Troublemakers, two wereliving in families with both parents, four lived in mother-headedhouseholds, one was being raised by his father, two were in foster fam-ilies, and one lived with his sister.16I conducted a series of in-depth, unstructured interviews with theadults who had contact with the boys in the school: classroom teachers,principals, discipline staff, the district truant of‹cer, school psycholo-gists, social workers, school janitors. I also interviewed their parents orguardians—usually women, but in two cases fathers—as I explored thedisciplinary systems outside of the school that the boys called on tomake sense of interactions within the school. I came to know several ofthese families quite well as they drew me into their lives as a sympa-thetic ear, a sounding board, a person with resources and credibility in10BAD BOYS15. About half of the kids in the school are eligible for the subsidized lunch program,while just over a third come from families that receive AFDC. Almost all of these studentsare from the Heartland (see note 7).16. This pattern is replicated in the 1990 census data for the neighborhood in whicha majority of the families are mother-headed households. This is in contrast to the children,mostly white, who are bused to the school from neighborhoods in which the vast majorityof the families are two-parent households.
a community in which those currencies were often in short supply. Inone instance, I became not just a friend or acquaintance, but wasadopted as a member of the family.Learning from KidsThough I paid attention to the accounts of a variety of individuals andheard explanations and theories from numerous viewpoints, it is theperspective and the voices of the kids, mostly boys, whom I talked tothat animate and bind this text together. I have spotlighted their voicesnot only because they are the most silenced and the most invalidated indiscussions of school trouble and punishment, but also because theyprovide a critical view that augments signi‹cantly our knowledge aboutthe contemporary crisis in education.How I heard the voices of the boys whom I interviewed and how Ilistened to what they were saying changed qualitatively over the courseof my research. I assumed at the start that I would learn aboutkids; butit was not long before I was obliged to question this premise and beginto learn fromchildren. This enabled me to tell their story from a freshviewpoint.In my initial research design I had planned to learn about kidsthrough “formal” interviews as well as through observation. My goalwas to tape-record in my of‹ce at the university conversations aboutseveral topics including school, trouble and punishment, friends,heroes, adult careers. The venue of the interview was to set a tone ofadult importance and serious business to the engagement that I hopedwould have an effect on the quality of the responses that I got from thechildren.I explained to the boys that I was writing a book about kids andschool and that I wanted to tell the story from their perspective; that Ineeded their help, what they knew, in order to write something good.Word got around to their friends that I was writing a book, and a fewapproached me and asked if they could be in it. I was surprised at howsavvy they were about the telling of life stories. For one thing, thefavorite television program of almost all the kids was the Oprah WinfreyShow,which featured the telling of personal stories. One boy asked mewhat kind of cover the book would have; another seemed disappointedthat I would not be using his real name. Most of the boys seemed gen-uinely pleased to discover that I wanted to talk about things that inter-DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE11
ested them. Two of them, however, were especially noncommittal dur-ing the interview. These two already had to deal with the criminal jus-tice system. One boy had, in fact, been placed in a foster home for sev-eral days when his mother was arrested. Their demeanor was by nomeans hostile but extremely cautious, monosyllabic, noncommittal.After I interviewed each kid, he had a turn to be the interviewer and askme whatever questions he wanted. Several took me up on the offer. Iwas asked about my work, my family, and what I spent my money on.Just the kind of questions I might get from social science researchers.When the formal interviews were over, the reward for the boys waspizza and a visit to nearby video arcades, or a trip up to the lookoutdeck of the highest building at the university. I found that the sponta-neous conversations that I had with them during these outings wereoften more informative about the topics that I was interested in thanthe actual interviews. The question-and-answer format, with me incontrol of the topic and them responding, was not the best one; in thisform of dialogue, the kids responded to my questions, but carefully.Too carefully. On the other hand, rich stories of experience in and outof school, observations and theories, bits of advice, ›owed out of thead-lib, spontaneous conversations during the course of our “free” timetogether. I began to realize how imperative it was to rethink my inter-viewing strategies. “Free time” was the space in which the kids felt freeto talk about what interested and impressed them. So, while I contin-ued with the formal interviews, I began to understand that the timebefore and after the interviews was even more important.When I decided to study a group of young people I did not thinkabout how I would gain access to their meaning systems. I admit nowwith embarrassment that when I began the research my assumptionwas that my own knowledge and experience would give me the toolsnecessary to ‹gure out what was going on in the lives of the boys Iwould interview and observe. I was required to provide a lengthy pro-tocol for the Human Subjects Committee at the university. This proce-dure was couched in terms of “protecting children,” so my efforts incomposing the protocol were to assure the committee that my inter-view questions would not traumatize the “interviewees” in any way. Atthat point, my unexamined research common sense was that childrenwere substantively different than adults; they were more transparent.They were “natural” subjects whose behavior I would interpret, ratherthan having to elicit interpretations from the kids themselves. I could12BAD BOYS
observe them in depth—almost as if they were animals in the labora-tory—to make sense of what I perceived. They were somehow moreaccessible because they were less social, more biologically determined.They were not yet totally “human,” but were humans-in-the-making.It was me, not them, who was wise.I was an “adult,” beyond biology and development because fullysocial, and would use my knowledge of the world to interpret what Isaw them do and what they told me of their lives. I did not even thinkabout whether the kids would choose to let me into their lives, tell metheir stories. They were on the surface: I would not have to plunge deepinto another world of experience, meaning, interpretation, learnanother language, unscramble new codes and symbols.For one, I believed that I already knew a great deal about child-hood. I am the mother of two sons; I have been a schoolteacher. Fromthese experiences, I assumed that children could be extremely good atkeeping, and highly motivated to keep, secrets, so that I would have towork to put them at their ease with me. I planned to draw on the leg-endary uncanny ability of mothers to ferret out information. But the“omniscient mother” as interviewer kept me locked into a perspective,into strategies of power from which I had to move away. This “extort-ing information model” offered few surprises.I had underestimated the enormous chasm of power that separatedgrown-ups and young people. For one thing, question and answer is thecustomary form of communicative exchange between powerful andpowerless, between adult and child. The young, especially, under thecircumstances of being interviewed by an outsider are guarded, cau-tious. They have been taught to be suspicious of strangers. They haveusually learned that almost anything they say can be the “wrong”answer, can get them into trouble. Boys who were already marked astroublesome were often anxious to present themselves in as positive alight as possible. They wanted me to be aware that they knew what was“right” and “wrong” in the context of school. In spite of my pledgeprior to the taped interview that what they said would be con‹dential,they could not be absolutely sure that they could trust me. Why shouldthey? They were in the position of guarding not only themselves butalso families and friends from my scrutiny. The interview format alsocontravened the code against “telling” that adults seek to undermine inthe name of “truth.” As an interviewer, I too, was asking them to “tell.”Who and where I was in my own life acted both as a barrier and aDON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE13
facilitator to making meaning of their lives. I was an older blackwoman, not a youth, not male; yet, my life as a graduate student helpedto freshen my memory of what it meant to be a “child” in a world oftotal and arbitrary “adult” power. To be a graduate student was to be“infantilized.” I had returned to graduate school after years of workingas a teacher, as a social worker, as a university administrator. I hadmothered. But the hierarchy of knowledge in the university was one inwhich my accumulated knowledge counted for nothing; I was expectedto start as if I were a blank slate on which would be written the theo-ries, ways of understanding the world that were gleaned from“approved” texts. In seminars, I found that discussions of work, moth-ering, bureaucracy, and organizations deliberately excluded the per-sonal experience of those around the table from what was consideredappropriate, admissible data. Those students who drew on life experi-ence in seminars quickly learned that scholarly discussion moved onover this offering as if it never occurred. I learned that experience was ashameful burden of knowledge acquired “practically,” every day, ratherthan “theoretically” from a distance. This erasure of a particular form ofknowing the world by the academy was one aspect of my present lifethat helped me to listen more respectfully to the children’s talk than Imight have otherwise. Moreover, it opened me up to consider how theknowledge, experience, and forms of expression that were brought intoschool by the group of kids that I was studying were excluded.Research Assistance: Introducing HoraceBut it was fundamentally through my relationship with twelve-year-oldHorace that I began to be conscious that my research agenda wasfocused on learning about boys rather than from them. I was assignedto be Horace’s tutor in the after-school program the ‹rst semester of my‹eldwork. Though I wanted to get to know one of the boys “getting introuble,” I worried about whether I would be able to “handle” him. Myanxiety had been raised by the reputation he had among school adultsas a boy who was dif‹cult and out of control. Horace’s name hadbecome the standard against which other children would be judged.For example, in a faculty meeting discussion of another African Amer-ican boy at the school, Horace’s name was invoked as the norm. Theadult said, “That child’s a problem, but he’s not a Horace.”In spite of the bad press that he had gotten from the school adults14BAD BOYS
and my anxiety about working with him, we got along well. I oftenfound him exasperatingly determined to control the conditions of hisafter-school tutoring sessions. But I recognized that he was leaning onthe side of “humanizing” our relationship, while I was bent on makingour time together as “productive” as possible. I was out to “teach” himsomething. He was carefully laying out, testing, and undermining theoriginal terms of our relationship, in which I had all the power andrespect and he had none. With his help, I came to see kids not ashumans-in-the-making but as resourceful social actors who took anactive role in shaping their daily experiences. I began to recognize andappreciate the stresses and strains they faced and the strategies theydevised for negotiating and maneuvering within structures of power.Over the weeks and months that I got to know Horace, I piecedtogether a shifting portrait of how he was seen by others: his teachers,the student specialists, the principals, his mother and siblings; and howhe saw himself. I also listened carefully to the stories Horace told meabout what was going on in his life as well as his analysis of relation-ships in and out of school.These stories and the time Horace and I spent together con‹rmedwhat I had suspected, had gotten glimpses of through observation inthe school, through interviews with some of the boys’ families. Thosewho were classi‹ed as lazy, belligerent, incorrigible at school could berespectful, diligent, and responsible in other contexts. Horace, who wascharacterized by school as “volatile,” “insubordinate,” was alsodescribed by others who knew him in different contexts as “a teamplayer,” “affectionate,” “great with kids.” From my observation ofHorace, I could see that he tested, resisted, and de‹ed the authority ofcertain adults. But it became clear that he was also conforming, obedi-ent, and deeply focused in other contexts in school and out.At the end of my ‹rst year of ‹eldwork at Rosa Parks, I askedHorace to be my research assistant during the summer vacation to helpme put together the topics for my interviews with the other boys. Heturned out to be an excellent guide to issues on young boys’ minds witha remarkable “sociological eye.” He saw patterns, relationships, contra-dictions, and disjunctures. Horace helped me decide—I might say heinsisted—on the themes for the interviews I later conducted with theother boys. He was quick to let me know when he thought I was beatinga topic to death or asking a question to which the answer seemed obvi-ous. He interviewed meon issues such as mothering, school, and money.DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE15
Most important of all, he pointed out that I would learn noth-ing about his peers and himself if I didn’t listen to their music. So Ituned in to their favorite radio station listening to the rap music, theDJ talk, the phone-in calls that weaved them together. I listened tothe commercials, the advice, the attitudes that were being dishedout. I began watching music videos. I became familiar with thenames and works of contemporary popular rap artists such as IceCube, Ice T, Paris, Naughty by Nature, Pooh Man, Snoop DoggyDog, Dr. Dre, Queen Latifah, Monie Love, Salt ‘n’ Pepa. I foundthat rap lyrics and the accompanying visual images, though some-times offensive and shocking, and almost ritualistically misogynist,were also witty, ribald, catchy, and often sharpened by a measure ofsocial criticism and political commentary. I was delighted to ‹ndthat the lyrics articulated some of the very ironies and contradictionsthat I myself observed as a researcher. I have selected some examplesof these as epigraphs to introduce and set the tone for several chap-ters of this book.My introduction to this music opened up a cultural space to methat was far more rich and critically innovative than I had expected; itwas more than the background noise and mindless escape of the musicof my own youth that reproduced simple hegemonic notions ofromance and power. Instead, I discovered a potent alternative site ofknowledge for youth about bodies and beauty, sexuality, gender rela-tionships, racial identi‹cation, authority, justice and injustice, loyaltyand friendship, style and address, transmitted through a vehicle thatsimultaneously engaged pleasure and fantasy.My brief and intense exposure to and growing familiarity with thiscultural production was an indispensable element in alerting me tosome key sources that the boys drew on for self-fashioning. Two ofthese are especially signi‹cant for this work. First, as I listened to themusic, heard the lyrics, watched the images, I became conscious of thehighly controversial, embattled ‹gure of the “gangsta” in gangster rap.Rather than the stigmatized ‹gure of the criminal feared by members ofsociety, the gangster in rap music and videos was a heroic medium forarticulating the tragic realities of urban poverty as well as the dangers,pleasures, and privileges of being male. This image led me to considerthe multiple ways of incorporating authority ‹gures, rules and laws,transgressive acts and consequences into a worldview. Second, I becameaware that the alternative, critical discourse and heightened conscious-16BAD BOYS
ness about race and racism that some kids brought to school wasre›ected in the lyrics and images of rap music.Race Signi‹esA structuring element of this text is an examination and analysis of thecontinuing signi‹cance of “race” as a system for organizing social dif-ference and as a device for reproducing inequality in contemporaryUnited States.17Race continues to be a ready-made ‹lter for interpret-ing events, informing social interactions, and grounding identities andidenti‹cation in school. One racial interpretation infusing several boys’accounts of the school day was that African American boys were singledout for punishment because of their race.This claim was especially provocative because school adults werevisibly uneasy about, and committed to, avoiding public discussions ofrace that went beyond a recitation of desegregation demographics.While several kids raised the issue of how race made a difference intheir experience of school, the adults typically limited their talk aboutrace to matters of numbers and distributions. Of‹cially, race existed inschool as the baseline category for classifying and distributing kidsthroughout the system and into classrooms, but beyond that the publicconsensus among adults was that distinctions of race were of no furthersigni‹cance. The working assumption was that racial discriminationhad come to an end with school desegregation; that in its everydayoperations school was race-blind to the differences that had led to theneed for busing in the ‹rst place. In relation to this study, the positionwas that children were sent to the Punishing Room not because of whothey were, but because of what they did. The institutional discourse wasthat getting in trouble was not about race but a matter of individualchoice and personal responsibility: each child made a choice to be“good” or “bad.” The homily “The Choice is Yours” was printed at thetop of the list of school rules to emphasize this connection.However, this discourse of “individual choice” was undercut by amore covert, secretive conversation about race that circulated primarilyDON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE1717. I use the concept of race not to mark off essential, ‹xed differences betweengroups of humans but to refer to a socially constructed category of human difference anddivision whose boundaries and meanings have changed over time, but which always is amechanism for the unequal distribution and allocation of social goods and status. This cat-egory, though a social ‹ction, because it is politically motivated has serious, real conse-quences for individuals and for social life.
among African American adults in the school that presumed race to bea continuing force in determining the outcome for children. In public,school people seemed to subscribe to explanations that the “at-riskness”of children was a consequence of apathetic or dysfunctional families;but in private conversations and interviews, black teachers and staffhinted that race, gender, and class made a signi‹cant difference in achild’s experience of school. They suggested that certain boys gotpicked on because they were black and came from the neighborhood;that white teachers didn’t know how to discipline black kids; that whiteteachers were “intimidated” by black boys; that some African Americanteachers had problems working with the neighborhood children,almost all of whom were black and poor. In several of these conversa-tions, individuals seemed to be egging me on to pursue the saliency ofrace to the phenomena over which I was puzzling.To jump to the conclusion that racism is a signi‹cant componentof the problem is, in fact, not all that far-fetched. Up to 1968, whenArcadia schools were desegregated, the observation that black childrenwere being treated differently from white children would have been amere statement of fact. Racial discrimination sanctioned by law and bycustom was the norm across the United States in every sphere. TheArcadia School District had, as did the vast majority of school districtsacross the United States, an of‹cial policy of racial segregation thatapplied not only to children, but to teachers as well.18Race made a vastdifference in the treatment that was afforded to black and white stu-dents. Segregated schools were organized on the assumption that whitestudents were entitled to a better education than black students. Blackchildren were not being educated to compete with whites for jobs inthe adult world of work. Memories of this injustice is still very muchalive at Rosa Parks School among faculty and staff. Cyril Wilkins, theAfrican American custodian at Rosa Parks, and a product of Arcadiaschools, reminded me of this when he recalled applying for a job as abus driver in Arcadia in the 1960s and having his application formcrumpled up and tossed into a wastebasket right before his eyes by thewhite man in charge of hiring because those jobs were not open toblack people.Cyril Wilkins’s personal experience is a vivid reminder of how theways for maintaining racial hierarchies in the United States have18BAD BOYS18. No black teacher taught in an Arcadia district white school until the late 1960s.
changed over the past generation as a result of political struggle. Themarking of the boundaries of racial difference and the form that racismtakes has varied according to the speci‹c social relations and historicalcontext in which they are embedded. Legal and open institutionalendorsement of racial discrimination was dismantled as a consequenceof the Civil Rights Movement that culminated in the 1960s. Dis-quali‹cation on the basis of race in the blatant manner that Wilkinsdescribes is now illegal. Yet, in spite of this profound legislative change,“race” continues to be a signi‹cant mode for the distribution of powerin the society.19For purposes of this study, we need to be aware of two ways thatracial inequalities are reproduced today. One is through institutionalpractices, and the other is through cultural representations of racial dif-ference. Both operate in a covert and informal manner. Bad Boysis astudy of these two modes: how institutional norms and procedures inthe ‹eld of education are used to maintain a racial order, and howimages and racial myths frame how we see ourselves and others in aracial hierarchy.Institutional practices continue to marginalize or exclude AfricanAmericans in the economy and society through the exercise of rules andpurportedly objective standards by individuals who may considerthemselves racially unbiased.20Punishment is a fruitful site for a close-up look at routine institutional practices, individual acts, and culturalDON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE1919. For examples of this in the realm of housing see Douglas S. Massey and Nancy A.Denton, American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass(Cambridge:Harvard University Press, 1993); in schooling see Kozol, Savage Inequalities;for anoverview of some recent studies in business, see chapter 5 of Joe Feagin and Melvin Sikes,Living with Racism: The Black Middle-Class Experience(Boston: Beacon Press, 1994).20. The concept of institutional racism as distinct from individual prejudice and big-otry was elaborated on by Stokely Carmichael and Charles V. Hamilton in Black Power:The Politics of Liberation in America(New York: Vintage Press, 1967). On page 5 theyargued that “institutional racism relies on the active and pervasive operation of anti-blackattitudes and practices. A sense of superior group position prevails: whites are ‘better’ thanblacks; therefore blacks should be subordinated to whites. . . . ‘Respectable’ individuals canabsolve themselves from individual blame: theywould never plant a bomb in the church;theywould never stone a black family. But they continue to support political of‹cials andinstitutions that would and do perpetuate institutionally racist policies. Thus actsof overt,individual racism may not typify the society, but institutional racism does—with the sup-port of covert, individual attitudesof racism.” See also Thomas Pettigrew, ed., Racial Dis-crimination in the United States(New York: Harper and Row, 1975), x, for the followingdescription: “racial discrimination is basically an institutional process of exclusion againstan outgroup on largely ascribed and particularistic grounds of group membership ratherthan on achieved and universalistic grounds of merit.”
sanctions that give life and power to racism in a school setting that notonly produces massive despair and failure among black students, butthat increasingly demonizes them.In this contemporary racial formation the category of race hasincreasingly been de‹ned through cultural rather than biological differ-ence.21Relations of power and inequality are explained as the demon-strated consequence of superior or pathological cultural characteristics.Attitudes, values, behaviors, familial and community practices becomethe ‹eld from which social distinctions derive. Black people, in thisform of racism, can only redress their condition by rejecting the cul-tural modes that make them “different.” So, in the school setting, it isassumed that it is the cultural difference kids bring to school that pro-duces the existing pattern of punishment rather than institutional oper-ations themselves.22Since a good part of the ideological work of race isto ‹x meanings and relationships as natural and durable, the racializa-tion of cultural forms and practices not only extracts behaviors and atti-tudes from the social matrix in which they are embedded but trans-forms them into immutable racially linked characteristics that producepoverty and bad citizens.Two cultural images stigmatize black males in the United Statestoday: one represents him as a criminal, and the other depicts him as anendangered species. I found that both of these images were commonlyinvoked at Rosa Parks School for identifying, classifying, and makingpunishment decisions by the adults responsible for disciplining thekids.It is important that we understand human culture differently—notas a set of immutable characteristics that seem to be transmittedthrough the genes but as a practical, active, creative response to speci‹csocial and historical conditions. As such, culture can be a signi‹cantmode of defense, of succor, of resistance and recuperation for those20BAD BOYS21. For discussion of historical changes in the racial formation in the United Statessee Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Racial Formation in the United States: From the1960s to the 1980s(New York: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1986). Paul Gilroy’s work pro-vides important parallels with racial formation in Britain. See, for example, Paul Gilroy,Small Acts: Thoughts on the Politics of Black Culture(New York: Serpent’s Tail, 1993).22. An example of this connection between race and culture and how it is used inunderstanding school trouble is found in the article about the Cincinnati schools by Hull,“Do Teachers Punish?” Teachers and administrators explained the disproportionate num-ber of African Americans who were suspended by stating that “blacks tend to be more bois-terous,” “black students are much more trouble prone,” and “some black males are morephysical.”
with few sources of power in society. A good illustration of this, whichI elaborate on in the text, is the way that African American boys uselanguage brought from home and community as a form of self-protec-tion and asserting a group identi‹cation in opposition to school.An example of the multiple meanings and contradictory uses ofculture and of cultural representation developed in this study is the wayin which a national event acts as a catalyst to both mark “otherness” andheighten racial self-de‹nition. The videotaped beating of Rodney Kingby Los Angeles police, the trial and acquittal of the men charged withthe attack, and the subsequent riots in Los Angeles occurred during myresearch. Students reacted visibly and vocally to the racism and publicdiscourse emanating from the events. In this way race came into theschool to create cultural and racial awareness. School adults, at the sametime, drew on the spectacular events as a framework for evaluating thebehavior of black kids. This national outpouring also made visible tome the way that traumatic and emotionally disturbing events outside ofschool directly contributed to children’s anger and troubling behaviorin school and how unwilling our society is to deal with issues of race asa real, divisive, social problem.I have organized the text to re›ect certain theoretical and method-ological considerations of my research. One aim is to join the debateabout the relative signi‹cance of social structure and personal agency inexplaining human behavior.23As I was engaged in this project, I foundstimulating and compelling arguments on both sides of this discus-sion.24I have found it rewarding to utilize both approaches to demon-strate the interplay between the determining effects of social structureDON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE2123. For an excellent summary of these positions see chapter 2 of Jay MacLeod, Ain’tNo Making It: Leveled Aspirations in a Low-Income Neighborhood(Boulder, Colo.: West-view Press, 1987); Stanley Aronowitz and Henry A. Giroux, Education under Siege: TheConservative, Liberal, and Radical Debate over Schooling(South Hadley, Mass.: Bergen andGarvey, 1985).24. On the structural determinist side I found the following works most persuasiveand insightful: Pierre Bourdieu and Jean-Claude Passeron, Reproduction in Education, Soci-ety, and Culture,trans. Richard Nice (Beverly Hills: Sage, 1977); Samuel Bowles and Her-bert Gintis, Schooling in Capitalist America: Educational Reform and the Contradictions ofEconomic Life(New York: Basic Books, 1976). Some of the work that stressed personalagency and the creative insights and oppositional responses of subjects that I found impor-tant included that of Patricia Hill Collins and of John Ogbu. See for example, Patricia HillCollins, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment(Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1990); and John U. Ogbu, “Class Strati‹cation, RacialStrati‹cation, and Schooling,” in Class, Race, and Gender in American Educational Research:Toward a Nonsynchronous Parallelist Position,ed. Lois Weis (Albany: State University of
and the creative response of individuals in everyday life that usuallyreproduces a status quo, but that sometimes produces change. Punish-ment is an especially fruitful site for this demonstration, as it is a spacewhere educational structures clash with the resistance strategies of indi-vidual students. My conviction is, however, that the balance tilts heav-ily in favor of structural determinants.The text is, therefore, designed to reveal this interaction betweeninstitutional and individual forces. There are two parts. The ‹rst partemphasizes structure. In this part I describe and analyze the disciplinarysystem of the school and the practices of labeling and categorizationthat construct the boys as individuals with behavioral problems. Thesecond part foregrounds the meaningful actions of individuals as I pre-sent the school day from the youths’ perspective. Here, I explore howkids recoup a sense of self as competent and worthy under extremelydiscouraging work conditions. Sadly, they do this by getting in trouble.Another goal is to elaborate through practical application the the-oretical work that challenges the use of the categories of race, class, andgender, as if they are isolated and independent social locations.25Myanalysis foregrounds the technologies of representation of subjects andthe experience of subjectivity as a complex, dynamic interaction of raceand gender. Sex is a powerful marker of difference as well as race. Whilethe concept of intersecting social categories is a useful analytical devicefor formulating this convergence, in reality we presume to know eachother instantly in a coherent, apparently seamless way. We do not expe-rience individuals as bearers of separate identities, as gendered and thenas raced or vice versa, but as both at once. The two are inextricablyintertwined and circulate together in the representations of subjects22BAD BOYSNew York Press, 1988). The work that most inspired my own thinking in the early phasesof my research was that which stressed the active cultural production of resistance andopposition: Paul Willis, Learning to Labor: How Working Class Kids Get Working Class Jobs(New York: Columbia University Press, 1977); and Paul Willis, “Cultural Production IsDifferent from Cultural Reproduction Is Different from Social Reproduction Is Differentfrom Reproduction,” Interchange12, nos. 2–3 (1981).25. For example, see Rose M. Brewer, “Theorizing Race, Class, and Gender: TheNew Scholarship of Black Feminist Intellectuals and Black Women’s Labor,” in TheorizingBlack Feminisms: The Visionary Pragmatism of Black Women,ed. Stanlie M. James andAbena P. A. Busia (New York: Routledge, 1993). For a discussion and application of theconcept of “intersectionality,” see Kimberle Crenshaw, “Beyond Racism and Misogyny:Black Feminism and 2 Live Crew,” in Words That Wound: Critical Race Theory, AssaultiveSpeech, and the First Amendment,ed. Mari J. Matsuda et al. (Boulder, Colo.: WestviewPress, 1993).
and the experience of subjectivity. Though the racial etiquette of today’sform of racism has sent a discourse of racial difference underground, itpiggybacks on our beliefs about sex difference in the construction ofimages. I explore the speci‹c way that black boys are constituted as dif-ferent from boys-in-general by virtue of the sexing of racial meaning.I have also structured the text along methodological lines to sug-gest the interplay between the “raw” form of the data that I collectedand my own interpretive and analytical authorial work in framing thedocumentary evidence as one thing rather than another. Interspersedbetween the chapters is an example of the types of data that I drew onas I pulled together the strands that became this story: self-re›exivemusings, transcriptions of interviews, primary source materials, ‹eldnotes. These documents are, of course, not mere “examples,” but areintentionally chosen to illustrate or to strengthen points that I make inthe chapters themselves. Several of these seem to speak for themselveswith the richly detailed, complex, often contradictory subjective voicesthat are the fabric out of which the ethnographer as storyteller tailors acoherent account. I have tried as much as possible to leave these com-plexities and contradictions in so that you, the reader, can more con-sciously participate in the critical work of interpretation.DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE23