How do young black students respond, resist, and work to transform their school experience? How do young people adapt, survive, and then succeed in spite of their negative school experience? For an increasing number of marginalized black youth, the paths to social success can actually lie outside school walls. Black Youth Matters presents a compelling, empirical picture of black youth who creatively respond to permanent school exclusion. Structural approaches to social stratification often set the terms of discussion around isolated narratives of individual "success stories." In this book, the authors intervene with a new point of view by focusing instead on collectives of broader black communities. They both engage with and move beyond structural models of stratification and education, thereby affirming the enduring importance of individual and collective aspiration-an impulse that has not been exhausted for black youth even in the face of systematic, longstanding, and overwhelming inequality.
Based on long-term ethnographic research with young people permanently excluded from school, Black Youth Matters examines the resourcefulness of young black people in overcoming the process of school failure to forge more positive futures for themselves. This book should be of interest to sociologists, educators, anthropologists, policy-makers, as well as community activists.