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Critical Youth Studies Reader

Preface by Paul Willis

Edited By Awad Ibrahim and Shirley R. Steinberg

This book won the 2014 AESA (American Educational Studies Association) Critics Choice Award.

This reader begins a conversation about the many aspects of critical youth studies. Chapters in this volume consider essential issues such as class, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, cultural capital, and schooling in creating a dialogue about and a conversation with youth. In a society that continues to devalue, demonize, and pathologize young women and men, leading names in the academy and youth communities argue that traditional studies of youth do not consider young people themselves. Engaging with today’s young adults in formal and informal pedagogical settings as an act of respect, social justice, and transgression creates a critical pedagogical path in which to establish a meaningful twenty-first century critical youth studies.
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38 “Too Young for the Marches but I Remember These Drums”: Recommended Pedagogies for Hip Hop–Based Education and Youth Studies

← 443 | 444 →CHAPTER 38


The first function of education is to provide identity. —Akbar (1998)

I Don’t Know Much, But I Know What Moves Me!

My mother and father never really shared much with me about how they met, where they grew up, who my great-grandparents were, or how two people with Southern roots landed in upstate New York. Similarly, my teachers never discussed my culture or heritage, and never linked my experiences at school to my community or home life. Of course, in school, we discussed the usual Black History events and icons—The Underground Railroad, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and the Civil Rights Movement. As a youth, I respected those events and viewed those freedom fighters as heroes, but I could not emotionally connect to such larger-than-life figures. I had trouble comprehending how my life and struggles as an urban youth linked to that of Parks or King—perhaps because they were only discussed during Black History Month, or maybe because I was never told the full story of their brilliance, sacrifice, and humanity. Moreover, the process of schooling and the marginalization of Black History left me less connected to my history as an urban youth, someone of African descent, and an African American. I had little understanding of who I was in relation to my community and heritage. While I was not completely lost—as my skin, speech, and body movements connected me to my local community—I ultimately had no sense of who...

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