In Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity, Ann Ferguson challenges the prevailing views on the burning issues faced by black male students in schools. Learners, professionals, young people, their parents, tutors, and mentors are encouraged to read this book as they will acquire additional knowledge on sociology, juvenility, gender, childhood, African-American studies, social work, and other important areas. It will be also interesting to those, who are concerned about the educational process, its specifics, and the way schools and colleges affect the generation of young and prospective African-American male students. Statistical data reflects the fact that black men disproportionately get in trouble, being regularly deprived of benefits and opportunities provided by the national school systems. Ferguson spent almost three years conducting research and making observations on this matter. As a result, she provides readers with a comprehensive, integrated, and interesting account on the daily interactions between students and professors aimed to understand the severity of the issue.
Ann Ferguson is among a few authors, who are not afraid to demonstrate the real treatment of the racial minority groups by educators. It has become common for school personnel to regularly identify and assault prospective males as bound for jail. Due to injustice, inequality and adverse circumstances of this process, young people have started developing a sense of self and moving forward overcoming all obstacles on their way. In order to present the relevant arguments, Ferguson takes into account the views, perspectives, and voices of African-American adolescents. The famous author wonders how teachers continue labeling racial minorities as unsalvageable without remorse and how students still receive education despite the predictions that they will go to jail in the future. Ann Ferguson has chosen a specific approach to reaching out to learners. For almost three years, she has been conducting interviews, and participating in playgrounds, movie theatres, and classrooms together with the youth, considering it the best means to identify and address troubles of African-American students. In addition to the internalization of these labels, the boys recognize the importance of receiving education and constantly improving their knowledge base. They are still motivated to move forward ignoring all labels that have been attached to them. Boys’ perspectives have been supplemented by Ferguson’s interviews with students, their relatives, teachers, and other competent individuals. Research and surveys have helped the authors to shape a disturbing picture of educators’ belief in the natural distinction of black youth and their potential criminal inclination and highlight the risks that black males are imposed to, including punishment and failure.
Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity is an important book that should serve as a guideline to the educators who seek to better understand the functioning of schools and the way teachers and society as a whole treat male students of African-American origin. The author also pays special attention to the perceptions of adult people and how they shape lives of the prospective youth regardless of the effects that these actions may bring to them. Ferguson (2001) also refers to the radical schooling theories to frame her own observations of attitude to black males and various school factors that shape the images of racial minorities and the meaning of black masculinity, race, and gender among the students and their peers. She recognizes a crucial role of such structural sources as schooling contradictions and tensions and the way they trigger the complexity of school education. In order to avoid mistakes in the future, community members, teachers, and policymakers should learn about the early school experience of black men and address gender and racial issues.
In her book, Ann Ferguson heavily draws on radical schooling theory and concerns expressed by Albert Cohen in regard to the educational process. They argue that current schools and colleges simply impose values of middle-class whites on the racial minority groups. Students who fail to meet expectations or show resistance are described as troublemakers, who should be subjected to remedial measures, being constantly tracked and punished in case of failure and faults. The book incisively criticizes the public schools’ attempts to misrepresent black boys and shape wrong perceptions of black masculinity in general. Instead of emulating other authors and experts, who are used to explain the decline of urban schools by the troubles with the city’s minority youth, the eminent writer and professor Ann Ferguson highlights the significance of inadequate urban school practices that adversely affect the life, education, and career prospects of African-American children.
The book Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity is well-organized, provocative, informative, easy to read and well-written so that every person regardless of his/her expertise and degree comprehends its meaning. It provides a new perspective on how black people are treated during the educational process in the twenty-first century. However, the account examines not only the educational process, but also daily practices, relations between teachers and learners, beliefs, patterns of discriminatory behavior and disrespect towards African-American male students along with forcing them into conforming behavior. Ferguson also emphasizes the interaction between gender and racial identification and breaking of the rules, and provides the relevant explanation on why African-American boys refuse to learn from teachers and professors, who neglect their rights and oppose their views. The instructive book by Ferguson is particularly useful for those, who do not recognize that young people are treated badly in schools simply because of their skin color.
The famous author and professor Ann Ferguson pays particular attention to the continuous cycle of racial inequalities in the educational establishments and specifies the two modes. They include the procedures and institutional norms that maintain a racial order in the educational sphere, as well as myths and images that frame public vision on racism and racial hierarchy. In addition to radical schooling, Ferguson examines life and future prospects of African American males from the perspective of the disciplinary power theory developed by Paul-Michel Foucault. Radical schooling implies that the dominant group creates schools and, therefore, triggers particular uncertainties among the racial minorities. It also has a power to make decisions that will continue oppressing African-Americans and other racial groups. The demonstration of a flawed public school system reflects Ferguson’s dissatisfaction with the current educational process and refers to the adverse effects of stereotypes on prominent black males. Gender issues are described together with the racial ones due to the interrelationship between these two aspects. Ann Ferguson also mentions that tough standards, establishment of punishment rooms, and strict discipline cannot be regarded as the proper solutions to this burning issue. Despite these challenges, African-American students continue struggling for recognition in public schools and modern society as a whole.
To conclude, Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity by Ferguson represents the deplorable experience of promising African American youth that they have gained in the U.S. educational establishments for many years. The author also highlights how their experience shapes their own identity. While writing a book, Ann Ferguson sought to understand the problems and challenges faced by racial minorities in the public schools of the twenty-first century. The eminent author and professor, Ann Ferguson has chosen a critical approach to studying the struggles of black boys and their desire to emancipate from oppression practiced in the contemporary educational institutions. In her book, the author has left behind the subjectivity. Instead, she has allowed readers to personally and critically participate in the discussion to interpret one of the burning issues faced by the modern generation of racial minorities.
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